Mother of Mitrice Richardson Has Filed a Second Lawsuit against Los Angeles County
• This Week's Action Targets LASD Handling of Her Dead Daughter's Remains
BY ANNE SOBLE
The mother of Mitrice Richardson, whose body was found 11 months after she went missing following her release from the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station in September 2009, told the Malibu Surfside News this week that "a second lawsuit was filed against Los Angeles County on Monday that is unrelated to the merits of [her existing] lawsuit."
The action filed in Superior Court by attorney Leo Terrell on behalf of Latice Sutton alleges that Los Angeles Sheriff's Department personnel mishandled the removal of Richardson's remains from the remote Malibu Canyon site where they were discovered in August 2010.
The skeletal remains were stumbled upon by state park rangers checking out a former marijuana grow that was located about seven miles from the Lost Hills Station.
The county coroner's office has said publicly that LASD officers were told not to disturb the remains, and has gone on record that their actions interfered with the coroner's review, which was unable to determine a cause of death for Richardson.
Sutton is seeking unspecified damages, alleging negligence, as well as intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The new lawsuit also describes other LASD behavior and procedures that are alleged to have compromised the overall investigation of the case.
Sutton and Richardson's biological father Michael Richardson (the pair never married) have consolidated lawsuits now awaiting trial.
These earlier court actions allege LASD personnel failed to get necessary medical attention for Mitrice Richardson, who may have been experiencing a bipolar episode, and released her just after midnight on Sept. 17, 2009, from the Lost Hills Station, despite what are described as obvious indications that she was mentally distressed.
Richardson, 24, a Cal State Fullerton honors graduate, had been taken into custody after being placed under citizens arrest by the manager at Geoffrey's restaurant where she reportedly exhibited bizarre behavior and was unable to pay an $89 dinner tab.
Subsequent analysis of diaries found in her car's disorderly contents indicated that she might not have slept for as many as five days and had become disconnected from reality.
LASD video footage of Richardson in custody appears to demonstrate that she encountered problems trying to make out-of-area telephone calls on a station phone before she was released alone on foot, without her cell phone, purse or other belongings, which deputies had required her to leave in the impounded vehicle.