Mother of Richard Okorogheye tells of her heartbreak after body found in Epping Forest identified as her son

April Roach
·2-min read
<p>Richard Okorogheye</p>

Richard Okorogheye

Richard Okorogheye’s mother has said she feels like her heart has been “completely ripped apart”.

The 19-year-old, who suffered sickle cell disease, disappeared from his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22.

Police said that a man’s body had been found in Epping Forest on Monday. Formal identification has now taken place and the body has been confirmed as that of Mr Okorogheye.

Evidence Joel, 39, told Sky News that she “desperately” needs closure and wants answers as to how her son lost his life.

She said she had been to the site where Richard ‘s body was found to lay flowers.

"It was a very uncomfortable place to be. I wouldn't want to be there,” Ms Joel said.

"My son that I know cannot walk into that darkness, no torch, no light. An hour and 30 minutes from where he was last seen. He must have guts to do that. He's only 19.

"What could push him to go that far if he wasn't meeting somebody?"

The business and IT undergraduate’s cause of death is pending while further investigations are carried out, however police found no evidence of physical trauma or assault, the Metropolitan Police said.

Ms Joel said she was “surprised” after police said the teenager’s death is being treated as unexplained and they do not believe there was any third-party involvement.

"Something happened there. It's too far for Richard to walk into that darkness alone,” said Ms Joel.

“You can't, it's tedious, it's darkness. So how did he get there? What happened? We don't know. I feel something happened there."

Ms Joel previously said she had been told the body had matched her son’s description before he was formally identified.

Scotland Yard said because Richard had been reported missing prior to the discovery of his body, a referral has been made to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, said: “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.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the many officers, staff and members of the public who have each played a part in the extensive effort to locate Richard.”

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