The family of missing student Richard Okorogheye have raised more than £20,000 after police found his body in a pond.
The fundraiser, which was set up less than 18 hours ago, will help pay for Richard’s funeral, a foundation in his name and commemorative bench in his memory.
Sharing her heartbreak on the GoFundMe page, the 19-year-old’s aunt Blessing Okorji said ‘Your sweet beautiful soul has left us too soon’.
The campaign initially hoped to raise £5,000, however it has already smashed this target in under a day, MyLondon reports.
Richard went missing from Ladbroke Grove, London, on March 22, with police finding his body in a pond in Epping Forest on Monday.
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Ms Okoroji said on the page that losing Richard was something the family ‘never thought’ they’d have to go through.
She wrote: “We always imagined Richie in our lives. He had a big impact in 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 the didn’t get. He had dreams and ambitions that he never got to achieve.
“We will always love you!”
GoFundMe campaigns for Richard were circulating online before the official one and without approval, Richard’s family and friends told My London.
A previous campaign raised over £10,000.
Richard’s aunt said the funds raised will go towards funeral costs, building a foundation in Richard’s name to support sickle cell and ill mental health sufferers and also to build a bench where Richard was found in Epping Forest.
Richard’s mother, Evidence Joel, said on the campaign page: “Sickle cell disease has affected my child, it should be taken seriously at all times. Sickle cell disease is real. My wonderful child, loving and caring. Missing you Richard always in my heart.”
Richard, who studied Business and IT at Oxford Brookes University was reported missing on March 24 after telling his mum he was visiting a friend on the evening of March 22 when she last saw him.
Police later established that Richard had taken a taxi from West London where he lives to a residential street in Loughton, Essex where he was seen on CCTV walking in the direction of Epping Forest.
After an extensive search of the area involving specialist divers, a body was discovered on April 5 which was formally identified to be Richard’s.
To support Richard’s campaign, click here.