Richard Okorogheye’s devastated mother has spoken of her heart “torn apart” after the student’s body was found in a lake in Epping Forest, Essex.
Evidence Joel described how her life is “already empty” after police confirmed the body found in a pond in the woods on Monday was that of her 19-year-old son, who was reported missing two weeks ago .
Speaking to Sky News, she said: “My heart feels like it has been torn apart.
“I am completely hollow and devastated and empty.
“Life is already empty, it floats like a cloud that the sun has stolen from me.
“What will I look forward to? What can you look forward to again? “
Police said a referral to the Met’s Professional Standards Directorate and the Independent Bureau of Police Conduct (IOPC) was “routine” as the student was reported missing before his body was found.
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We will examine whether a possible future IOPC involvement is required.
“Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
On the evening of March 22nd, Mr. Okorogheye left his family home in Ladbroke Grove, west London.
He was reported missing the following Wednesday.
His death is being treated as unresolved and the police currently do not believe any third party was involved.
Ms. Joel asked how her son, who has sickle cell disease, could have traveled to Essex.
She said, “It’s too far for Richard to walk into the dark alone.
“How did he get there? We don’t know. I have a feeling that something happened there.
“The forest is huge and scary, it’s a place you don’t want to go at night.
“It wasn’t a very comfortable place.”
The cause of death is pending pending further investigation. However, the city police found no evidence of physical trauma or an attack, the force said.
Mr Okorogheye left his family home at around 8:30 p.m. on March 22nd, heading for Ladbroke Grove.
Police said further investigation revealed that he was then taking a cab ride from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton, Essex.
He was last seen on video surveillance in Loughton and was walking alone on Smarts Lane towards Epping Forest at 12:39 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23rd.
Police said Mr. Okorogheye’s phone had not been used since he disappeared.
Police said a referral to the Met’s Professional Standards Directorate and the Independent Police Conduct Bureau was “routine” as the student was reported missing before his body was found.
Ms. Joel previously said her son talked about “coping with” university pressures and shielded himself from Covid-19 during the lockdown.
As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr. Okorogheye only left the house to have regular blood transfusions at the hospital for his illness.