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Police searching Essex forest for missing student Richard Okorogheye

Search teams make their way through Epping Forest on Wednesday evening (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Police are searching an Essex forest as the hunt for a missing student intensifies.

Richard Okorogheye disappeared from West London on Monday, March 22, and had not been seen in the nine days since.

But now officers investigating the case are conducting searches with dogs and horses in Epping Forest near Loughton, after a new confirmed sighting last placed him in the area.

The Metropolitan Police have released CCTV images of the 19-year-old in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23.

The Met have begun searches in and around the forest as well as carrying out door-to-door enquiries.

Specialist search teams from Essex Police are also involved in the operation.

Mr Okorogheye, an Oxford Brookes University student, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area on the evening of Monday March 22, and was reported missing two days later.

Officers searching Epping Forest in Loughton as part of the investigation into the disappearance of missing 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye.

Officers, horses and dogs were searching Epping Forest on Wednesday evening (Picture: Metropolitan Police)
Essex Police are helping the inquiries (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence 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.

He left home without his medication and his parents have criticised the police for not taking the disappearance seriously.

Initial enquiries identified him leaving his home address in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm. He was seen boarding the 23 bus southbound in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm.

CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo.

 Richard Okorogheye, who has gone missing after leaving his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area on the evening of Monday, 22 March.

Richard Okorogheye left home without his medication (Picture: Crockford Alan)

Police said further enquires have established that he then took a taxi from London’s W2 area to a residential street in Loughton, Essex.

Now a new sighting captures him on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12:39am on Tuesday March 23.

The Met said detectives were working around the clock to trace where he went next.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicki Beecher, from the Met’s Area West Public Protection Unit, said: ‘It has now been nine days since Richard was last seen in person and we remain as committed as ever to locating him and bringing him home to his family.

‘Our officers are working extremely hard to piece together the facts in order to build a picture of Richard’s movements on the evening of Monday March 22.

‘Latest information suggests he was last seen in Loughton in Essex and we are now focusing our attention here, with specialist search officers from across the Met brought in to assist.’

She continued: ‘Our enquiries also continue in the Ladbroke Grove, W10 area where local officers have been carrying out search patrols and also community patrols to gather information from local residents.

‘I would once again like to renew our appeal to the public for any information which may assist with our enquiries.

‘If you may have seen Richard – particularly in the Loughton area – or have any information at all, please contact police.’

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting 21MIS008134.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.


MORE : CCTV released in search of student, 19, who went missing without his medication

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