Missing Richard Okorogheye’s best friend ‘can’t eat or sleep’ after body found

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The best friend of missing teenager Richard Okorogheye says she "can't eat or sleep" since a body was found in the search for him.

Richard, 19, disappeared more than two weeks ago on March 22 and earlier this week police investigating discovered a body in a pond. It is still awaiting formal identification.

Hala Mohamed, 18, has known the student all her life after living in the same apartment building in Ladbroke Grove, west London, and attending secondary school and sixth form college together.

She told My London: "This is the worst feeling ever.

"I can't sleep, I can't eat. He was everything to me, it's a shock to the system, I don't think I've processed everything."

Richard, who has sickle cell disease, went missing after telling his mum he was going to visit a friend.

The Oxford Brookes University student was seen taking a taxi from west London to Essex and CCTV tracked him to a street in Loughton, Essex, where he was seen walking in the direction of Epping Forest.

Specialist divers found a body in a pond in the forest on Easter Monday after an extensive search of the area.

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Describing her friend, Hala said: "He's funny, full of life, always joking around, playing around.

"He always pushed you to be your best version of yourself and doesn't want you to settle. He pushed me to start my clothing line."

Richard has had to isolate during the coronavirus pandemic due to his disease, but Hala says he did not show any signs of odd behaviour before going missing.

  • Mum of missing teen Richard Okorogheye told body found in pond 'matches her son'

Sickle cell disease affects how red blood cells work in the body.

Richard's devastated mum Evidence Joel told the Evening Standard: "We thought Richard would be found, or would just come home. But he’s not.

“My baby will never come home to his mummy again. He was taken away from me too early.

"The only child I have. It’s devastating and the last thing I thought I’d hear."

  • Police searching for missing teen Richard Okorogheye find body in Epping Forest

As of Wednesday morning, formal identification of the body is yet to take place.

Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said: "Our officers, with the assistance of specialist search teams dogs and police horses and colleagues from Essex Police, have been carrying out extensive searches in Epping Forest since 19-year-old Richard was last seen on CCTV in the area two weeks ago.

"This is an extensive enquiry and we are working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances. This includes forensic, medical and specialist enquiries which all take time to complete.

"As part of the ongoing investigation we've remained in the area to carry out further investigations.

"I would like to thank the public for supporting our search for Richard by sharing our appeals, checking door bell footage, dash cam footage and passing on any information no matter how small.

"Lastly I'd like to sincerely thank the public for their support and while I understand there are a number of questions, we are doing everything we can to try and find the answers to them."

  • London
  • In the News
  • Police
  • Missing Person
  • Coronavirus

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