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05th Apr 2021

Richard Okorogheye’s mother says “every day is a nightmare” as search for 19-year-old goes on

The mother of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye, Evidence Joel, said she feels "useless" as the search for her son continues

Reuben Pinder

“I feel useless.”

The mother of Richard Okorogheye, who has been missing since he left home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, at about 8.30pm on Monday 22 March, has said “every day is a nightmare”, as the search for her son goes on.

19-year-old Okorogheye has sickle cell disease, and had been shielding for months. The Oxford Brookes student told his mother he was going to see a friend, but did not return and was reported missing shortly afterwards.

He was last seen in the Epping Forest area, where he was last seen on CCTV footage in the early hours of March 23rd.

His mother, Evidence Joel, 39, has pleaded with the public to remain vigilant and to report any sightings.

“It’s very difficult. It’s hell,” she told the Guardian.

“Not knowing where Richard is, with his health condition as well, it’s a complete nightmare.”

“Every day is a nightmare for me now. The days are going by. Time is ticking and I don’t know what to expect.

“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. But I can’t,” she explained, due to the fact she must stay home in case he makes contact.

“Richard and I have a great relationship. There’s no obvious clue or agitation or anything that could have led to what happened,” she added.

Richard’s parents are also concerned that cold weather could trigger a health crisis for their son, who left without a jacket on March 22.

Richard was last seen on the 23 bus heading southbound in Labroke Grove, at 8:44pm on March 22, dressed in all black, carrying a black adidas satchel with a white logo. He then took a taxi to Loughton and was seen walking to Epping Forest in the early hours of March 23.

Evidence Joel said Richard never mentioned travelling to Epping Forest before he left, and pleaded with her son to please come home.

“We miss you very much. Everybody misses you. And we love you very much. We want you home. Please come home,” she said.

Last week, Joel told Sky News that she didn’t feel the case was being taken seriously by the Met Police, who told her: “If you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?”