Mitrice Richardson Is Still Missing: Malibu City Council Adds Its Voice to the Growing Chorus of Concern for Her Well-Being
• Members Establish $15,000 Reward for Information Regarding 24-Year-Old's Disappearance
BY ANNE SOBLE
BY ANNE SOBLE
The Malibu City Council on Monday expressed heartfelt sympathy over the disappearance of a visitor to the community and at its Wednesday quarterly meeting approved the establishment of "a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson" who has now been missing for six weeks.
The 24-year-old Cal State Fullerton honors graduate was last seen not long after midnight on Sept. 17 when she was released from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station on her own recognizance after being booked for two misdemeanor counts resulting from her declared inability to pay for an $89.51 dinner tab at Geoffrey’s restaurant and the presence in her vehicle of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Richardson was described by Geoffrey staffers as acting crazily—stating she was from Mars and spouting gibberish—in a call made to the sheriff’s department to pick her up.
However, when the deputies arrived on the scene to take custody of her after a citizen’s arrest by the restaurant manager, it was noted in a report written a week after her arrest that she passed a field sobriety test. After she was brought to Lost Hills, a jailer said Richardson conversed and was lucid.
The Malibu Surfside News obtained a copy of Richardson’s booking report this week, which indicates she was booked at 10:20 p.m. and released at 0025, or 12:25 a.m., which is an hour earlier than first stated by sheriff’s department spokespersons and reported in the media.
The one hour difference could have major ramifications in the timing of misinformation that was given to Richardson’s mother, Latice Sutton, when she placed numerous telephone calls to Lost Hills about her daughter.
The booking report confirms that Richardson had no money in her possession. The only personal property recorded was a brown hat, a pink belt and her California driver license, which she signed for when it was returned.
The report states Richardson told deputies that in case of an emergency her great-grandmother Mildred Harris, with whom she resided in Los Angeles, was the person to be contacted.
The report notes there were four attempts to call Harris, each of which are initialed M.R., but it is not known whether the calls were completed due to the inability of the Lost Hills calls to be verified.
Monday night, the city council indicated it would post a missing person flyer for Richardson on the city website and put formal action on a reward on the agenda of its Wednesday meeting after citizen input recommending the city at least match the $10,000 county reward, albeit with the suggestion the money could be used to help defray family expenses, but the speaker wasn’t specific which family members might be involved.
According to some of the volunteers involved in the search effort, the missing woman’s family largely presents a united front, but has two separate wings, one in which the mother and Mitrice Richardson’s mentor during college, psychologist Ronda Hampton, are active. Their site, www.findmitrice.info, was the original ground zero n the search effort. The group’s volunteers conduct active field searches, such as one that took place downtown this past Sunday in which noted social commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson took part.
Sutton and Hampton spearheaded the concern that Richardson has experienced debilitating stress or psychological illness and should have been placed under observation by medical professionals instead of being booked at, then released alone, on foot and without funds from the desolate Lost Hills station.
The woman’s father, Michael Richardson, has subsequently put together his own website, which is still being built, that does not mention the mother by name. He has opened a PayPal account with buttons for contributions by monetary denomination. It is not indicated whether a non-profit has been formed, or if there is a special bank account for the funds.
Michael Richardson’s website refers to an Oct. 2 exchange with “Malibu Mayor Andy Stark” (Andy Stern), a reference to telephone calls, the tapes of which were played for the Malibu Surfside News last week, in which Richardson appears to tell Stern he will picket his real estate office and tie up his telephone lines with calls because Stern has not done enough to prod the authorities.
Stern reported the calls to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, where the matter has been assigned to Detective Vic Paladino for further investigation.