A student suddenly left home, saying he was “struggling to cope” with lockdown in England. Now, his mother has a theory on what happened. A missing boy’s mum fears he met someone through PlayStation 5 who “gained his trust” as cops continue to search for the absent student. The Sun reports that Richard Okorogheye, 19, vanished after telling his mum he was “struggling to cope” with the lockdown.
Now, police have released new CCTV images of Richard. The footage was captured in Loughton, in the southeast of England, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23. Speaking on Sky News, she said: “I’m shocked. I’m surprised he knows where Loughton is, as I don’t even know where that place is.
“I think he went to meet somebody. Definitely. Richard cannot go there. Especially at that time in the morning … someone was waiting for Richard.” When asked if he had perhaps met someone online, Evidence said “most definitely” and said previously that Richard would often be playing on his PlayStation.
She said he heard him laughing and was “very happy” when he played his games.
She continued: “Definitely, he was talking to someone. Someone that he trusted and was fond of. Maybe the person gave him confidence.
“Somehow knew his aspirations, his interests, so he confided in that person, built confidence and trust.”
He had been shielding due to a sickle cell disease since the pandemic took hold last year.
The teen, who attended Oxford Brookes University, said he was going out on March 22. After leaving his home in Ladbroke Grove, West London, he was seen walking in Kensington at around 8.40pm local time.
It was thought the last footage of him was from the 23 bus southbound near his home. CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo worn across his lower back. But now officers say he was seen in the area of Epping Forest hours later – and before he was reported missing.
Cops have established that Richard took a taxi to Loughton in Essex.
On Tuesday morning, he was captured on CCTV walking alone along Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12.39am local time.
Police said detectives were working around the clock to trace his next steps after this sighting and had begun searches in and around the forest as well as carrying out door-to-door inquiries.
They were also working alongside specialist search teams and colleagues from Essex Police.
Detective Chief Inspector Nicki Beecher from the Met’s Area West Public Protection Unit said: “It has now been nine days since Richard was last seen in person, and we remain as committed as ever to locating him and bringing him home to his family. “Our officers are working extremely hard to piece together the facts to build a picture of Richard’s movements on the evening of Monday, March 22.
“Latest information suggests he was last seen in Loughton in Essex, and we are now focusing our attention here, with specialist search officers from across the Met brought in to assist.
“Our inquiries also continue in the Ladbroke Grove, W10 area where local officers have been carrying out search patrols and also community patrols to gather information from local residents.”
As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr. Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to the hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.
Richard’s mum Evidence Joel has called for him to come home.
She said: “Richard, we love you and miss you very much, please can you come home.