FBI Says There's No Need to Get Involved in Mitrice Richardson Case
BY ANNE SOBLE
The family of Mitrice Richardson was informed by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department on Friday by telephone that the Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Steven Martinez, had written Sheriff Lee Baca in a letter dated Feb. 11, 2011, that "I must inform you that the FBI will be unable to assist in this matter."
The most critical family concerns, including additional testing of her remains and laboratory analysis of Richardson's clothing that had been ignored and "misplaced" in the body bag containing her remains that was delivered to her mother, Latice Sutton, for interment, are not under FBI purview, according to Martinez.
Martinez wrote that the FBI "does not do autopsies" or "render cause of death opinions." With regard to the articles of clothing, he said that "no evidentiary chain of custody" was maintained since the items left the law enforcement agency's possession. However, Sutton contends that she was told by Sheriff Baca that this would not be an issue,
Sutton said the work that she had hoped would be done by the FBI relate to mistakes by sheriff's department personnel and the coroner's office. She said the FBI is basically saying that it refuses to address negligence and errors on the local law enforcement level. The letter makes reference to the "excellent working relationship and partnership" the FBI has with the LASD.
Richardson's mother expressed "anger and frustration," but she indicated that she will continue the fight to determine how her daughter died and bring the perpetrators to justice..
Sutton said she will begin to redirect her efforts against the local law enforcement agencies in order to get them to take the actions she is urging.