The body found by police in a lake in Epping Forest has been confirmed as missing student Richard Okorogheye.
The 19-year-old’s death is being treated as “unexplained”, the Metropolitan Police said, and officers do not believe, at this stage, there was any third-party involvement.
Mr Okorogheye, who had sickle cell disease and was said to be struggling with shielding during the pandemic, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of 22 March, boarded a bus, and later took a 20-mile taxi ride from the W2 area of the capital to a residential street in Loughton, Essex.
Mr Okorogheye’s mother Evidence Joel described her son as “a treasure” and said he had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Through tears, she told Sky News of her son: “It’s my baby, it’s my treasure. He’s my oxygen, he’s my crown. He’s everything to me, he’s the reason why I live, the reason I exist.”
The Oxford Brookes student had sickle cell disease, and had seemingly not taken his daily medication when he left home on 22 March.
A post-mortem examination took place on Wednesday and found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.
The Met said the cause of death is pending while further investigations are carried out.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said her “thoughts and prayers” were with Mr Okorogheye’s family and that she was in contact with Scotland Yard as inquiries continue.
She wrote on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Richard Okorogheye.
“My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”
Detective superintendent Danny Gosling, head of the Met’s central west public protection unit, 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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