Richard Okorogheye’s mum says police thought she was ‘worrying unnecessarily’
The devastated mum of Richard Okorogheye, whose son was found dead in a forest lake, claimed police appeared to “count the minutes” when she would call about him.
Officers reportedly believed Evidence Joel was ‘just being frantic’ or had ‘nothing better to do’ when her 19-year-old son vanished.
Police confirmed on Wednesday night that the body of a man found in a lake in Epping Forest, Essex, was that of missing Richard.
The Metropolitan Police said his death was being treated as unexplained, but there was no evidence of any third party involvement.
The Oxford Brookes University student had left his home in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, in west London, on the night of March 22 before his body was found.
Speaking to Independent his grief-stricken mum said she felt police didn’t take his disappearance seriously at the start, believing she was “just worrying unnecessarily” and was “just being frantic”.
She claimed police told her that her son was an adult who had “a right to privacy”.
Joel said: “In fact, most of the time I was on the phone, they were counting the minutes. They said, ‘Evidence, you called earlier, about an hour ago. You’re still calling. There are no updates.
“‘Evidence, you have been on the phone for the last 10 minutes. We can’t give you any more information.”
The nurse, 39, added: “I will not treat anyone like that that comes into my care. I will give you the full support.”
She also reportedly questioned how much officers understood about her son’s health condition, sickle cell disease, after they tried to reassure her he would “find his way to the hospital” if needed.
Scotland Yard previously said the death was being treated as unexplained but officers do not believe there was any third-party involvement “at this stage”.
A post mortem took place earlier and found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.
Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, Head of the Met’s Central West Public Protection Unit, said: “My deepest sympathies go out to Richard’s family at this incredibly difficult time. This was not the outcome that any of us had hoped for and we will ensure that his grieving family are well-supported by specially trained officers.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the many officers, staff and members of the public who have each played a part in the extensive effort to locate Richard.”
In a statement the Met said: “As a matter of routine, as Richard had been reported missing prior to the discovery of his body, a referral has been made to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We will be assessing whether any possible future IOPC involvement is required.
“Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
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