The Met has released CCTV images after missing student Richard Okorogheye, 19, who has sickle cell disease, disappeared after leaving his Ladbroke Grove, west London, home more than a week ago.
Detectives have released new images of a missing student as the teen’s worried mum pleads for the public’s help with the investigation into his disappearance.
Nineteen-year-old Richard Okorogheye, who has sickle cell disease, was last seen over a week ago.
According to his mum, Evidence Joel, he had been shielding during lockdown and “struggling to cope” with university pressures.
Tonight she issued an emotional appeal for his return, saying: “Richard we love you and miss you very much, please can you come home?”
The Metropolitan Police also renewed its appeal for information as it issued CCTV images from the night Richard was last seen over a week ago.
The teen is believed to have left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22. He was reported missing two days later.
As someone with sickle cell disease, Richard would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.
The Met said the 19-year-old left his home and headed in the direction of Ladbroke Grove on March 22 at approximately 8.30pm.
The last confirmed sighting of Richard was when he was seen boarding the 23 southbound bus in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm.
CCTV footage showed the student wearing an all-black outfit and carrying across his lower back a black satchel-bag featuring a white Adidas logo.
Police said it was unknown at which stop Richard got off the bus, adding that he was known to frequent London’s Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham areas.
Ms Joel previously told MyLondon that her son had “never done anything like this”, adding: “Something has gone wrong.”
In a new statement issued on her behalf by police on Tuesday evening, she said: “Richard we love you and miss you very much, please can you come home? We aren’t angry at you. We just want to know that you’re okay.
“For anyone reading this, we are desperately missing our son. If you know anything or know where he might be, please come forward and speak to the police.”
Ms Joel previously said she recalled the teenager saying he was going to visit a friend, although none of them have seen him, telling her to drive safe and that he would “see me later”.
She returned home from a nursing shift at around 9pm and assumed he was in his room.
She cooked him a meal but found he was not there when she knocked on his door and he did not answer his phone.
The alarm was raised after a locksmith helped her gain entry to the room which was empty but Richard’s wallet, bus pass and bank card were left behind.
Detective chief Inspector Nicki Beecher, from the Met’s Area West Public Protection Unit, said: “Our officers are continuing to work around the clock to locate Richard and bring him home to his worried family.
“We are keen to speak with anyone who may have been around Ladbroke Grove at the time of Richard’s last known sighting as captured above – you might be able to help us trace his next steps.
“If you may have seen Richard, please contact police, no detail is too insignificant.
“If Richard is safe and well, we ask him to contact us as a matter of urgency so that we can put his family’s minds at ease.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting 21MIS008134, or they can call 999 in an emergency.
They could also go online to pass any information on to the charity Missing People.
Mum of missing vulnerable teen says police told her ‘if you can’t find him how can we?’
Richard Okorogheye, 19, went missing from his family home in Ladbroke Grove, London, a week ago and his mother Evidence Joel has appealed for him to come home, saying ‘he’s the reason why I live’.
The mum of a missing teenager claims police told her ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?’.
Richard Okorogheye, 19, who suffers from sickle cell disease, disappeared from the family home in Ladbroke Grove, London, at around 8.30pm on March 22.
His family reported him missing two days later and his mum Evidence Joel yesterday broke down in tears as she made a heartfelt appeal on Sky News.
Speaking to a reporter, she said: “He’s everything to me… he’s the reason why I live.”
The mother-of-one also told the broadcaster she was heartbroken after a police officer allegedly asked her how she expected them to find her son when she as his mother could not.
She said: “I told a police officer that my son was missing, please help me find him, and she said ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?
“I was expecting assurance. My son was missing and it broke my heart.”
The devastated mum believes her son, who had been carrying out his university studies remotely, may have been groomed online and could be currently held against his will.
During the pandemic, Richard had been shielding due to his health condition, which requires him to have monthly blood transfusions.
Ms Joel said her son was ‘struggling to cope’ before he vanished, sparking fears he could have been struggling with depression.
The Met Police said relatives of missing people should be treated with ‘respect and dignity’ in response to Ms Joel’s claim that an officer asked her ‘how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?’
A spokesman for the force told The Mirror: “The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to providing the best possible service to families of missing people, ensuring that they are supported by specialist officers and informed of investigative updates as soon as possible.
“Family members should always be treated with respect and dignity by officers, and have confidence that officers will make every effort to investigate the circumstances of the disappearance with a matter of urgency.
“The investigation into the disappearance of Richard Okorogheye remains ongoing – his family are being supported by a dedicated Family Liaison Officer while all available resources are being utilised in the search.”
When asked by The Mirror if the force had apologised to Ms Joel over the officer’s alleged question, they referred us to the above statement.
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