A body has been found by police searching for a university student who has been missing for two weeks.
Richard Okorogheye, who has sickle cell disease, said he was “struggling to cope” with academic pressures and had been shielding during lockdown, according to his mother Evidence Joel.
The 19-year-old left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on March 22 and was reported missing two days later.
On Monday, police looking for the missing student said the body of a man has been found in a pond in Epping Forest, Essex.
A statement issued by the Metropolitan Police said said: “On the afternoon of Monday, April 5, 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.
“Detectives investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye are aware. Richard’s family are being supported by specially- trained officers and kept updated with developments.
“Officers remain at the scene and enquiries continue.”
Okorogheye 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 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 Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.
Speaking to The Guardian, 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.”