Richard Okorogheye’s aunt pays emotional tribute to ‘beautiful’ nephew, 19, found dead
Richard Okorogheye’s aunt has paid emotional tribute to her tragic nephew as she set up a fundraiser in his memory.
The 19-year-old was last seen at his home in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, in west London, on the evening of March 22.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Police said a body was found in a pond in Epping Forest, Essex, where Richard was last seen heading on CCTV last month.
And on Wednesday, officers sadly confirmed the body was that of the missing student.
His aunt Blessing Okorji has now set up a GoFundMe page in which she described Richard as a “beautiful, kind and thoughtful person, whose smile always lit a room that he entered”.
She hopes to raise money for Richard’s funeral and to build a foundation in his name to support Sickle Cell sufferers – as he had the disease – and mental health in young people.
The family also said they want to build a memorial bench where Richard was found.
Blessing wrote Richard was “bright and intelligent”, with “high aspirations for the future”.
She said her nephew had a “radiant smile” and a “pure soul”.
Richard, who had sickle cell disease, had been isolating during the coronavirus pandemic and would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.
After his body was found, mum Evidence Joel told the Evening Standard: “We thought Richard would be found or would just come home. But he’s not.
“My baby will never come home to his mummy again. I can’t even describe the feeling.
“He was taken away from me too early. The only child I have. It’s devastating and the last thing I thought I’d hear.”
The fundraiser reads: “He had a big impact on his friends and family’s life. We have all created amazing memories with him that we will all hold with us forever.
“His soul was so pure and he wanted so much out of his life he didn’t get.
“He had dreams and ambitions that he never got to achieve. We will always love you!”
At the time of writing, more than £3,100 has been raised.