— 2mins read
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed the body had been formally identified as Richard, bringing to an end a two-week search for the missing 19-year-old Nigerian.
The confirmation is the worst possible news for Richard’s family and friends who had been desperately hoping he was still alive and appealing for him to come home.
Richard’s mum Evidence Joel and best friend Hala Mohamed were among a group of family and friends that visited the pond in Epping Forest, Essex, on Wednesday to pray and lay flowers in the pond where his body was found by specialist divers.
Wearing a black coat and a blue face mask, Joel was comforted by the group as she broke down in tears. They also poured water into the pond as they appeared to pay tribute to Richard.
“My deepest sympathies go out to Richard’s family at this incredibly difficult time. This was not the outcome that any of us had hoped for and we will ensure that his grieving family are well-supported by specially trained officers,” Head of the Metropolitan Central West Public Protection Unit Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said.
A post-mortem investigation into the circumstances of Richard’s death is ongoing but the Police say his death is being treated as unexplained as they do not believe at this stage that there was any third-party involvement.
The confirmation of Richard’s death came as a shock to the Oxford Brookes University community, where he was enrolled as a first year student on Computer Science for Cyber Security programme before his disappearance and demise.
A statement from Vice-Chancellor Prof Alistair Fitt said: “We have received confirmation of the tragic news that Richard Okorogheye, a student at Oxford Brookes University, has died. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Richard’s family and friends. This is devastating news for the Oxford Brookes community.”
Richard’s best friend Hala said on Wednesaday: “I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. He was everything to me, it’s a shock to the system, I don’t think I’ve processed everything.”
His mum filed a complaint with the Police one day after he went missing. She said he left their home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22 to visit a friend but had not been home since then.
He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23, walking towards Epping Forest where his body was retrieved.