Specialist police divers in the United Kingdom have been deployed as the search for missing Nigerian student, Richard Okorogheye, continues, Sky News reported on Monday.
Okorogheye, 19, left his family home on the evening of March 22 in Ladbroke Grove, West London and was reported missing two days later, police have said.
They added that he took a taxi to Loughton, more than 22 kilometres from where he lives.
Before his disappearance, Okorogheye who lives with sickle cell disease had been shielding, meaning he was not expected to leave home and minimise face-to-face contact for health reasons.
According to Sky News, underwater investigators were seen in one of the bodies of water in Epping Forest, where the teenager had been last seen in CCTV footage recorded nearby.
“People can go missing from home for any number of reasons,” Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said, as quoted by Sky News. “Our job is not to cast judgement but to work to find them and bring them home safely.
“My message to Richard is clear. Our only concern is your safety. You are not in trouble and have done nothing wrong.
“If you read or hear this message we would ask you to contact us, or someone you trust, to let us know you are safe.
“Your loved ones and many other people who you do not even know, are very concerned.”
He added: “I would also like to thank the public for their continued support in sharing our appeals, checking doorbell and dashcam footage, and passing on any information.
“As our efforts to find Richard continue, the eyes and ears of ordinary members of the public will be essential tools in our search.”
‘A Tall, Strong Man’
In an interview with Channels Television, Okorogheye’s father, Christian, described him as a tall and strong teenager who enjoys talking to his friend.
His father blamed his disappearance on depression following the lockdown and long stay at home.
“He is a tall strong man; he enjoys talking to his friends,” he said. “At a point, he got cut off from his friends. Somehow, it happened that he met some people who we were not 100% sure about.
“It has been very devastating. I don’t know how to describe it but it is serious. All we want to do now is how to get him back and tell us his story.
“Richard has been on some kind of setting at home and I think that got him depressed in some ways. When you keep someone at home for like one month plus, and with all these things happening, it added to it. I think he got really fed up of the whole thing.”