Richard Okorogheye update: When did the Oxford uni student go missing?

THE distraught mum of missing student Richard Okorogheye says her life is a "complete nightmare" after he disappeared.

He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.

Who is Richard Okorogheye? 

Richard Okorogheye is a 19-year-old student who attends Oxford Brookes University.

He told his mother, Evidence Joel, that he was "struggling to cope" with lockdown after shielding throughout the coronavirus pandemic due to a sickle cell disease.

As someone with sickle cell disease, the teen would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.

Sickle cell disease – in which red blood cells are not shaped as they should be – is a serious and lifelong health condition

Richard is known to frequent the Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham areas.

When did Richard Okorogheye go missing? 

The teen said he was going out on Monday, March 22, 2021, and was last seen walking in Kensington, West London, at around 8.40pm.

His mother returned home from a nursing shift at around 9pm and assumed her son was in his room.

It was only when she knocked on his door after cooking his favourite dinner that she realised something was wrong.

After a locksmith helped her gain entry to the bedroom, she found Richard missing with his wallet, bus pass and bank card left behind.

None of Richard’s friends saw him that night and they haven't seen the teen since he disappeared.

Where was Richard Okorogheye last seen?

He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.

It was thought the last footage of Richard was from the 23 bus southbound near his home.

CCTV shows he was wearing black clothes and carrying a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.

But now officers say he was seen in the area of Epping Forest hours later – and before he was reported missing.

Cops have established that Richard took a taxi to Loughton in Essex.

He was then captured on CCTV walking alone along Smarts Lane, Loughton towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday morning.

There have been no further confirmed sightings.

The Met said detectives were working around the clock to trace his next steps after this sighting and had begun searches in and around the forest as well as carrying out door-to-door enquiries.

They were also working alongside specialist search teams and colleagues from Essex Police.

Police officers, dogs and divers have been scouring the woodland area for four days, but said they had found "nothing of relevance".

Police divers have also been deployed and were seen searching a waterway in the woodland in north-east London.

What has Richard Okorogheye's family said?

His mother fears her student son had become depressed during lockdown as he only left the house for regular blood transfusions at hospital.

She is also worried that he met someone through Playstation 5 who "gained his trust".

Evidence Joel told Sky News that she was "shocked" at being told that Richard had been seen on CCTV footage walking in Loughton, Essex – miles away from their home in Ladbroke Grove, West London.

She added: "I'm shocked he even knows where Loughton is, as I don't even know where that place is.

"I think he went to meet somebody. Definitely. Richard cannot go there. Especially at that time in the morning… someone was waiting for Richard."

When asked if he had perhaps met someone online, Evidence said "most definitely" and said previously that Richard would often be playing on his Playstation.

She said he heard him laughing and that he was "very happy" when he played his games.

She continued: "Definitely, he was talking to someone. Someone that he trusted and was fond of. Maybe the person gave him confidence.

Speaking to The Guardian, Evidence Joel said that 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.

"But I can't", she said of needing to remain at home in case he makes contact.

She had previously said: "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.

"Right now I'm empty, there is nothing to look forward to. He's taken my breath away from me."

His mum said the current cold weather, which could cause Richard substantial pain, was a major concern.

She said: "We know he didn't take a jacket when he went out. That's really worrying."

Evidence added she had no idea as to what could have prompted Mr Okorogheye's disappearance, and called on his online community of friends to contact police if they have any information.

She also issued a message to her son, telling him: "Everybody misses you. And we love you very much. We want you home. Please come home."

Police latest

Scotland Yard previously said that detectives continue to keep an open mind about the Oxford Brookes University student's whereabouts.

Chief Inspector Clare McCarthy of the Met's Central West Command Unit said: “Our officers have been working tirelessly to locate Richard, using all investigative opportunities and data enquires, speaking with witnesses and trawling CCTV.

"We are following every lead possible and are appealing for the public to help us in our work. If you may have seen Richard, please contact police.

"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.”

Det Supt Danny Gosling, head of the Met’s central west public protection unit, said: “People can go missing from home for any of number of reasons.

"Our job is not to cast judgement but to work to find them and bring them home safely.

“My message to Richard is clear. Our only concern is your safety. You are not in trouble and have done nothing wrong.

"If you read or hear this message we would ask you to contact us, or someone you trust, to let us know you are safe. Your loved ones and many other people who you do not even know, are very concerned.

“I would also like to thank the public for their continued support in sharing our appeals, checking doorbell and dash cam footage and passing on any information.

"As our efforts to find Richard continue, the eyes and ears of ordinary members of the public will be essential tools in our search.”

If you see Richard, please call 999 immediately.

Or, anyone with information can call the police on 101 quoting 21MIS008134 or visit charity Missing People at

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