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Missing Woman's Family Presses for Video Release

Wave Newspapers, News Report, Staff Report Posted: Nov 02, 2009

About 70 people many on motorcycles rallied Sunday in South Los Angeles and Malibu to urge the sheriff's department to release videotape of a woman who went missing after being released from a rural sheriff's station.

Mitrice Richardson, 24, of South Los Angeles, was released on her own recognizance just after midnight Sept. 17 from the sheriff's Malibu-Lost Hills station after being booked on two misdemeanor counts for not paying her nearly $90 dinner tab at a Malibu restaurant.

She hasn't been found since, although there have been numerous alleged sightings throughout California, from Orange County to San Jose.

Witnesses said the Cal State Fullerton graduate, who wanted to be a teacher, had been acting strangely at the restaurant and appeared to be intoxicated, mentally ill or both.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said earlier that Richardson did not appear to be impaired during her arrest, and that deputies did nothing wrong in releasing her before her parents arrived to drive her home.

The Malibu Surfside News reported that she rejected an offer by the jailer who processed her release to spend the night locked up.

She was released after two hours, and may have been spotted about halfway back to Malibu, trying to find a place to sleep in a carport, although it was unclear if that person was Richardson.

Her father, Michael Richardson, wants to see videotape from the sheriff's station, which he believes will show his daughter was too mentally ill to be released in the middle of the night in an isolated area 40 miles from her home.

She had no money, no place to go, and insufficient mental capacity to wait for the family members on the way to get her, he said.

Two searches were conducted in the area stretching from Calabasas to the coast over consecutive weekends, but Richardson was not found.

Sunday's rally and motorcade was held to make community members aware that Richardson may be on the streets of South Los Angeles, and to prompt the release of the videotape from the Lost Hills station, said family spokeswoman Jasmyne Cannick.

Several unverified sightings "have happened near Manchester Avenue and Denker [Street], and we want the people to have the presence of mind to call that in," Cannick said.

The county Board of Supervisors is offering a $10,000 reward for finding Richardson, and the Malibu City Council was to vote on topping that with a $15,000 reward as well. Nevertheless, the girl's father blasted Malibu for refusing to waive fees to pay for sheriff's deputy presence at Sunday's rally.
Malibu Mayor Andy Stern, meanwhile, has turned over to the sheriff voicemails left by the distraught father that reportedly threaten to tie up his phone lines and picket his office because Malibu has supposedly not done enough to prod the sheriff's office, the Malibu Surfside News reported.

Michael Richardson said he wanted to hold Sunday's rally in Malibu, but could not afford the city's fee to stage the rally, and could not get the mayor to waive the fee or reserve parking for the motorcade.
Stern could not reached for comment, but state law does not allow him to waive fees or reserve parking without a city council vote.

Cannick said that after the rally at 87th Street and Western Avenue, the bikers rode to Malibu, while she and about 20 others stayed behind to canvass the neighborhood and pass out fliers with Richardson's picture.

Richardson is black, about 5 feet 5 inches and 125 pounds, with tattoos on her lower abdomen and behind her neck. She was last seen wearing a brown Bob Marley T-shirt and blue jeans.

Her family asked anyone with information as to her whereabouts to call Los Angeles police at (213) 485-2531.

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