State looking into '09 death of Mitrice Richardson

mitrice.final.jpgTreatment from 2011 Los Angeles Magazine story on Mitrice Richardson.

In an unexplained reversal, the state attorney general's office says it is reviewing the death of Mitrice Richardson after she left the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in the Malibu Canyon area in 2009. Just in November, the state AG had rejected family requests to look into how the sheriff's department handled the Richardson case. A spokeswoman won't say what prompted the sudden change, the Daily News reports.

Richardson, you might remember, was detained after allegedly walking out on a bill at Geoffrey's restaurant in Malibu in September 2009. She was released several hours later from the sheriff's Lost Hills station, at midnight and without her car or cellphone, and not seen again. She had reportedly had mental issues earlier in the day. Numerous searches of the Santa Monica Mountains did not find Richardson, but her remains were found by rangers 11 months later. The sheriff's department went in and moved her remains before the coroner arrived, upsetting the coroner's office and Richardson's family.

From reporter Susan Abram in the Daily News:

Eleven months after she disappeared, Richardson’s remains were discovered about seven miles from the station. Park rangers who were patrolling the area to check for illegal marijuana farms found her near a creek bed where few traveled. Deputies arrived and removed the bones, and once again met with criticism, this time from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.

Baca had told reporters he believed his officers followed procedures and that deputies had asked her to stay in jail until her mother arrived, but Richardson refused. The Office of Independent Review, which oversees the Sheriff’s Department, agreed with him. In the meantime, 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.


A spokesman with the sheriff’s department said they are aware of the Attorney General’s review.

“The Sheriff’s Department is aware of the investigation and it’s cooperating fully with the investigation,” according to their statement.

The review apparently began before last week's plea deal by former Sheriff Lee Baca in the jail abuse cover-up scandal.

Previously on LA Observed:
Was any part of the Mitrice Richardson case not bungled?
County and Mitrice Richardson's family agree to settle
Remains are those of Mitrice Richardson
FBI to examine Mitrice Richardson remains
Big search for Mitrice Richardson, finally

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