April 21, 2021

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Missing student seen walking from taxi checking his phone after cab ride from London to Essex

Police investigating the disappearance of student Richard Okorogheye have said they are investigating the 19-year-old’s mobile phone activity after a video emerged of him getting out of a taxi and checking his handset.

The search for the Oxford Brookes student from Kensington is now focussed on the Epping Forest area after police narrowed down his last known movements. 

Detectives believe: 

  1. Mr Okorogheye left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of Kensington on the evening of Monday, Mar 22
  2. He left his home and headed in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.
  3. Mr Okorogheye boarded a 23 bus southbound at 8.44pm. He was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.
  4. The missing teenager then took a taxi from the W2 area of London – which surrounds Hyde Park – to Smarts Lane in Loughton, Essex.
  5. At 12.39am on Tuesday, Mar 23, Mr Okorogheye is seen on CCTV getting out of the taxi and walking towards the area of Nursery Road and Epping Forest. He can be seen checking his phone as he walks. 
  6. On Mar 24, he was reported missing. 

Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said on Thursday: “We’ve been making extensive inquiries into the disappearance of Richard and over the last few days we’ve conducted a number of inquiries in relation to his mobile phone activity and also his financial activity.

“As a direct consequence of that we are able to identify that Richard paid for a taxi from west London which brought him here (Loughton).

“And having spoke to the taxi driver and made some CCTV inquiries we’re confident that this was Richard’s last sighting at about half past midnight into the early hours on Tuesday (March) 23.”

Mr Gosling continued: “There’s a large number of officers, special search officers, that are focusing in and around the Epping Forest area which is close by to here, but there are other key lines of inquiry that we are still actively pursuing.

“So into his financial activity, that’s still a valid line, and there are a number of inquiries in and around his laptops and his computers which are currently at a laboratory being examined to see if there are any other indications or lines we can follow up.”

Asked if there was a working theory, he replied: “I think it’s important to keep an open mind at the moment and to pursue all those lines of inquiries to help us understand that.

“We will go where those inquiries take us and where the evidence leads.”

Asked if there had been any recent activity on Mr Okorogheye’s mobile phones, Mr Gosling added: “As far as we can tell at the moment, there’s been no activity on those that we’re aware of.”

Mr Gosling said there was “no clear reason” for Mr Okorogheye to have travelled to Loughton. 

Richard Okorogheye’s disappearance, in pictures

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