A body has been found by police, in the search for missing poet Gboyega Odubanjo – who went missing at Shambala festival last week.
The 27-year-old was reported missing over the weekend when he failed to turn up for his set at the festival. According to Northamptonshire Police, he was last seen in the county’s Kelmarsh area in the early hours of Saturday morning (August 26).
Following the missing person’s report, police searched the festival site and surrounding areas in hopes of finding Odubanjo, supported by various rescue teams, however, grew increasingly concerned for his wellbeing.
Now, a body has been found in the search for the award-winning poet and, although a formal identification has yet to take place, Odubanjo’s family have been informed.
According to a report by BBC News, the body was discovered by authorities during a search in Kelmarsh, just before 9am BST. Northamptonshire Police have said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Odubanjo was an editor at bath magg – “a magazine of new poetry” – as well as a Roundhouse Resident Artist, and a recipient of the 2021 Eric Gregory Award for his New Poets Prize Pamphlet Aunty Uncle Poems.
One of his pamphlets titled While I Yet Live, was published by Bad Betty Press in 2019. His 2021 poem Oil Music was also featured as poem of the month in The Guardian. He had been studying for a PhD in creative writing at the University of Hertfordshire.
Speaking to BBC Radio Northampton yesterday (August 30), his godmother, Antonia Onigbode, said his disappearance had come as a “shock to entire family”. She also described the writer as an “exceptionally gifted person” with “a bright future ahead of him”.
We are truly heartbroken to be sharing this latest update. We ask both members of the public and the media to please respect the privacy of friends and family at this unimaginably difficult time. Please follow Northamptonshire Police for further updates.
With so much love x x pic.twitter.com/RXEAKd0fSe
— Shambala Festival (@ShambalaFest) August 31, 2023
Following today’s update (August 31), organisers of Shambala Festival shared a statement on social media platforms, saying they have been left “heartbroken” by the news.
“We are truly heartbroken to be sharing this latest update,” the caption read. “We ask both members of the public and the media to please respect the privacy of friends and family at this unimaginably difficult time. Please follow Northamptonshire Police for further updates.”
Additionally, Detective Chief Inspector Johnny Campbell said: “We would like to thank all those involved in the search efforts. We would also like to thank all those who have supported our investigation by speaking to officers or getting in touch with information.”
The police are currently preparing a file for the coroner. Earlier this week, police had asked people not to form their own search parties to find the poet.
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