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31st Mar 2021

Mum of missing teenager told “we can’t find your son if you can’t” by UK police

Danny Jones

His mother said the comments “broke [her] heart”

Richard Okorogheye, has been missing for over a week and his parents believe they have not been “taken seriously” by the Met.

The 19-year-old did not come home after going to see his friend around 8.30pm on March 22nd. The business and IT student, who studies at Oxford Brookes University, also suffers from sickle cell disease and has been shielding throughout lockdown.

As if Richard’s family’s situation wasn’t concerning enough, the initial response from the police is even more troubling. After having reported him as missing, an officer was reported as having said: “If you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?”

Clearly distraught over the whole situation and desperate to find her son, his mother, Evidence Joel and his father, Newton Okorogheye, believe they have not been taken seriously enough. She said: “I was expecting assurance” about her missing child, but the comments “broke [her] heart.”

Joel also noted that they were told the police did not have the resources to check CCTV near their home. Despite this, Chief Inspector Clare McCarthy maintains that “officers have been working tirelessly to locate Richard, using all investigative opportunities and data enquires, speaking with witnesses and trawling CCTV”.

His parents are also concerned over the possibility that Richard could have been groomed by someone online and that they could be “holding him against his will”. As well as his illness, they fear he could otherwise vulnerable as he was “struggling to cope” with shielding during the pandemic.

Richard Okorogheye went missing in Ladbroke Grove, West London, but it also believed to regularly be found in the areas of Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham. As always, the police are urging anyone with any information to come forward.