Was any part of the Mitrice Richardson case not bungled? the September issue of Los Angeles magazine, Mike Kessler reconstructs the sheriff's and coroner's departments mishandling of Mitrice Richardson's disappearance and the subsequent investigation into her death. I hadn't realized just how unprofessionally the whole thing has been handled, continuing still with cover-their-ass evasions. Besides failing to search for Richardson originally, the most troubling aspect is that deputies from the Lost Hills station that was under the most heat for her disappearance appeared to break every rule of evidence and crime scene handling in the canyon where her body was found — spending hours at the body then removing it before anyone from the coroner reached the site. Even now, there's no agreement on whether the skull was attached to the body, why some body parts were mummified rather than decomposed, or how Richardson's clothes came to be removed and strewn around the canyon. Kessler:

As for the nakedness of Mitrice’s body, [Lt.] Rosson posited that animals removed her clothing, only a portion of which—jeans, belt, and bra—was recovered. Given the lo- cation of those items, this would mean that scavengers took off Mitrice’s sneakers and socks, unbuckled her belt and slipped it out of its loops, then unzipped and tugged off her jeans before removing her underwear. The animals would have unfastened her two-hook bra and gotten it out from under her....They’d have had to carry the jeans and bra 500 feet and 600 feet, respectively, down the canyon, drop them in the creek, and carry the belt another hundred feet downstream to hang it on the mess of vines where it was found. Finally, the creatures would have to have eaten or otherwise disposed of Mitrice’s two T-shirts, underwear, socks, and sneakers.

Kessler and Richardson's mother were on NBC's "Today" show on Monday talking about the case. A suit is pending, and Richardson's remains were recently exhumed to be examined again — by the sheriff's department.

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