Richard, 19, was last seen in the early hours of March 23 walking towards Epping Forest in Essex. On Easter Monday detectives said they had found a body. Community nurse Evidence Joel said: “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.”
Police told her the body matched Richard’s description.
Specialist divers made the discovery in Wake Valley pond in Epping Forest in the 5,900-acres of ancient woodland. A post-mortem is due to be carried out.
The Met’s Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said they were informed by Essex Police that a body had been found in the pond.
He added: “Whilst we wait for formal identification, we have spoken to Richard’s family to update them with this latest development.
“Our specially trained officers remain with the family as they have done in this inquiry.”
Det Supt Gosling said police remain in the area as they try to piece together what happened to Richard.
He said: “This is an extensive inquiry, and we are working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances. This includes forensic, medical and specialist inquiries, which all take time
Richard, a student at Oxford Brookes University, had sickle cell disease.
He left his family home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, on the evening of March 22.
He took a taxi from central London to Loughton, Essex, and was caught on CCTV walking alone towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on March 23.
Richard’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance. He did not take his medication or money.
Ms Joel previously said her son had spoken of “struggling to cope” with his business and IT degree and had been shielding during Covid.
As someone with sickle cell disease, Richard would only leave the house for regular blood transfusions.
Ms Joel said she had thought her son may have met someone through computer gaming.