Richard Okorogheye: Police searches underway in Essex after confirmed sighting of missing student

CCTV footage of Richard Okorogheye in Loughton Credit: Met Police

Police investigating the disappearance of student Richard Okorogheye are conducting searches in Essex after a new confirmed sighting last placed him in the area.

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

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

Richard Okorogheye Credit: Met Police

Initial enquiries identified him leaving his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.

In a previously confirmed sighting on Monday March 22, Mr Okorogheye 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, worn across his lower back.

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

He was captured 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 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.

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.

“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 police on 101 quoting 21MIS008134.

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.