A body found in a lake in Essex has been formally identified as missing student Richard Okorogheye, the Metropolitan Police has said.
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 teenager said the body of a man had been found in a pond in Epping Forest.
The Met Police on Wednesday made a formal identification. The force said the death is being treated as unexplained but officers do not believe there was any third-party involvement “at this stage”.
A post mortem took place on Wednesday and found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.
The force said the cause of death is pending while further investigations are carried out.
Detective superintendent Danny Gosling, head of the Met’s central west public protection unit, said: “My deepest sympathies go out to Richard’s family at this incredibly difficult time. This was not the outcome that any of us had hoped for and we will ensure that his grieving family are well-supported by specially trained officers.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the many officers, staff and members of the public who have each played a part in the extensive effort to locate Richard.”
Home secretary Priti Patel said her “thoughts and prayers” were with the family and that she was in contact with Scotland Yard as inquiries into Okorogheye’s death continue.
She wrote on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Richard Okorogheye.
“My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
“I am in contact with the Metropolitan Police who continue their inquiries into his tragic death.”
As someone with sickle cell disease, Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.
Okorogheye left his family home at around 8.30pm on March 22 and headed in the direction of Ladbroke Grove.
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 last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, walking alone on Smarts Lane towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday March 23.
The force said Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.