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The case of missing Mitrice Richardson

UPDATE 12/14/15 – Mitrice’s story will be told in a documentary called “Lost Compassion” as part of the 16th International Malibu Film Festival. The film will be shown on Dec. 3  at the Regal Cinemas Malibu Twin, 3822 Cross Creek Road, Malibu. The subtitle of the film is “Someone Knows.” More information: email or go to

Richardson’s parents, who are not married to each other, filed separate wrongful death suits and in 2011 were awarded $450,000 each by Los Angeles County.

Sadly, Mitrice’s skeletal remains were found in Malibu Canyon, August 13, 2010.  At this writing, the cause of her death had not been determined. You can view an interview of her mother here.

Original story:  Mitrice Richardson, 25, was eating at Geoffrey’s restaurant in Malibu on September 17, 2009. She ordered a steak and one drink. After a few hours, the police were called because Mitrice did not pay for her bill. Click here to listen to the police recording.  The police said she was acting like she was on drugs and took her to jail. The employees at Geoffrey’s said she appeared either substance-impaired or psychologically stressed.

During her arrest, though, she passed a field sobriety test and seemed lucid after she was booked.

According to Lost Hills Capt. Tom Martin, the jailer on duty allowed Mitrice to use the police phone because the pay phone in the lobby wasn’t working. They heard her speaking on the phone, but they do not know who she called.

At dawn, the next morning, she was released from the Malibu police station. She had no money and no phone and no way of getting home. She has not been seen since.

Latice Sutton, Mitrice’s mother is suing the LA County Sheriff’s Department for negligence and wrongful death, after viewing a tape showing her daughter in jail not acting like herself. Latice feels that the authorities should have evaluated her more closely before releasing her.

“The LA County Sheriff’s Department was grossly negligent, and the officers on that shift, grossly negligent in allowing her to leave and walk out without any form of communication wit her family or friends,” said the attorney for the family, Leo Terrell at a news conference.

Mitrice is still missing and there is a $10,000 reward for her whereabouts. She is described as African-American, brown hair and hazel eyes, 5’5″ tall and 135 pounds. She has a Chinese symbol on the back of her neck. She was last seen wearing a brown Bob Marley T-shirt and blue jeans. You can see more at her website.

Mitrice is a Cal State Fullerton graduate with a 4.0 GPA and was preparing to begin her doctoral program.

Anyone with information is asked to call 213-485-2531.

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