Police searching for missing 19-year-old student Richard Okorogheye have said a body has been found in Epping Forest.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Police said they were informed by Essex Police that the body of a man was found in a pond in the woodland.
Inquiries are under way to identify the body.
Scotland Yard added that detectives investigating Mr Okorogheye’s disappearance are aware and his family are being supported by specially trained officers.
Inquiries continue and officers remain at the scene for the fifth day.
Mr Okorogheye, who has sickle cell disease, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22, and was reported missing two days later.
He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.
Police divers had previously been seen in a body of water in the woodland.
Initial police inquiries identified Mr Okorogheye leaving his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.
CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.
Police said further inquiries have established that he then took a taxi journey from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton.
He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday March 23.
The force previously said Mr Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.
Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, said waiting for information on her son’s whereabouts has been “hell”.
She told the paper: “Every day is a nightmare for me now.
“I feel completely helpless. Helpless, and also, sorry to use this word, but I feel useless. Because I want to go out there, to do something to look for him, search for him, anything.”
Ms Joel previously said that her son had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.
Richard Okorogheye: Police searching for missing student find a body in Epping Forest pond
Police searching for missing student Richard Okorogheye, who went missing two weeks ago, say they have found a man’s body in a pond in Epping Forest, Essex.
The 19-year-old left his family home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, on the evening of Monday 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.
Specialist police search officers and dog units have been searching Epping Forest after CCTV captured him walking towards the forest in the early hours of Tuesday 23 March – the last time he was seen.
Police say the body has not yet been identified but that Mr Okorogheye’s family have been told of the development and they are being supported by specialist officers.
The Met said in statement: “On the afternoon of Monday 5 April the Met was informed by colleagues from Essex Police that the body of a man had been found in a pond in Epping Forest.
“Enquiries are under way to identify the body. Officers remain at the scene and enquiries continue.”
The Oxford Brookes student, who has sickle cell disease, had been struggling to cope with shielding for the past year and it is believed he did not take his daily medication with him.
Detectives have said there had not been any activity on his phone since he disappeared.
Mr Okorogheye‘s mother, Evidence Joel, told Sky News on Thursday her son had never mentioned Loughton and she thought he went there to “meet somebody”.
“Someone was waiting for Richard,” she said.
Ms Joel said she “most definitely” thought he had met somebody online as she had heard him laughing while playing his PlayStation 5 and being “very happy” while talking to someone.
She said she did not know anything specific about the person.
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