Mother of missing student claims police officers made shocking remark

‘We can’t find your son if you can’t’: Mother of missing student, 19, claims police officers made shocking remark when she reported his disappearance

  • Richard Okorogheye been shielding during pandemic due to sickle cell disease
  • The 19 year old student was last seen on Monday, March 22, at about 8.30pm 
  • Mother said police asked ‘If you can’t find your son, how do you expect us to?’

The mother of a missing student said police asked ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect us to?’ when she went to them for help.

Richard Okorogheye, 19, who has been shielding during the pandemic due to having sickle cell disease, was last seen on Monday, March 22, at about 8.30pm.

The IT undergraduate at Oxford Brookes told his mother he had struggled to cope with university pressure and was going out to meet a friend – but left his wallet, jacket and medication behind.

The mother of a missing student said police asked ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect us to?’ when she went to them for help. Pictured: Mother Evidence Joel

Richard Okorogheye, 19, who has been shielding during the pandemic due to having sickle cell disease, was last seen on Monday, March 22, at about 8.30pm

His mother Evidence Joel, a nurse, said that when she phoned police to report him missing and suggested they check CCTV near their home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, she was told they did not have the resources.

‘[An officer] said: “If you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?”’ Miss Joel said. ‘I was expecting assurance. My son was missing and it broke my heart.’

Family friend Claudine Rose added: ‘We just felt like initially, it wasn’t taken seriously enough. His mum was going into the police station every day and they hadn’t put posters up or anything.’

Miss Joel said her son would only leave home for blood transfusions for his condition, which causes unusually shaped blood cells.

Mr Okorogheye told his mother he would see her later on the night he disappeared.

None of his friends has seen him, she added.

She returned from a shift at 9pm to find her son was not home and did not answer his phone. He was reported missing on March 24.

The IT undergraduate (pictured) at Oxford Brookes told his mother he had struggled to cope with university pressure and was going out to meet a friend – but left his wallet, jacket and medication behind

Miss Joel told Sky News she feared he had been groomed online by someone who was holding him against his will.

Miss Rose said: ‘He’s found the isolation very difficult, not being able to see his friends and start at university like normal.’ 

Scotland Yard said Mr Okorogheye frequented the Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham areas.

Chief Inspector Clare McCarthy said: ‘If you may have seen Richard, please contact police.’

Scotland Yard said the Met ‘is committed to providing the best possible service to families of missing people’ and that all available resources are being used to look for Mr Okorogheye. 

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