A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out on a body found in Epping Forest by police searching for missing student Richard Okorogheye.
The family of the 19-year-old, who has sickle cell disease, have been spoken to by officers, who are waiting for formal identification.
Mr Okorogheye went missing after leaving his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22.
Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard on Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said: “Yesterday afternoon we were informed by colleagues from Essex Police that a body had been found in a lake in the Epping Forest area.
“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 throughout this inquiry.”
Mr Gosling said police remain in the area to carry out further searches as they try to piece together what happened to Mr Okorogheye.
“The post-mortem examination will take place shortly and we are also waiting for formal identification,” 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 to complete.”
Yesterday afternoon we were informed by colleagues from Essex Police that a body had been found in Epping Forest.— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) April 6, 2021
We are still waiting for formal identification, and have spoken to Richard Okorogheye's family.
Our specially trained officers continue to support them. pic.twitter.com/T9RaTuxZsi
Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, previously said her son had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition, she said.
Speaking after the body was discovered on Monday, she told the MyLondon website: “They (the police) said the description matches his, but we’ll go in tomorrow to find out.”
Mr Okorogheye was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.
Initial police inquiries identified the teenager leaving his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.
CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel with a white Adidas logo.
Police said further inquiries established that he then took a taxi from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton.
He was captured on CCTV walking alone in Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday March 23.
The force said Mr Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.