Name: Mitrice Lavon Richardson
Age: 24 years old
Last seen: September 17, 2009
Location: Malibu, California
Status: Found Deceased
Mitrice Lavon Richardson was born on April 30th, 1985 to her parents Latice Harris and Michael Richardson. After her parents divorced, Mitrice was raised by her mother Latice Harris in the suburbs East of Los Angeles, in Covina, California.
Mitrice graduated from South Hills High School in West Covina and then went on to graduate from California State University in Fullerton, with a BA in Psychology in 2008. She had plans to continue her passion for psychology and was planning to apply to graduate school and did her doctorate in child psychology.
Mitrice was described as an extremely well-loved person, smart and curious. people who knew her said she was very talkative and was someone who was extremely deep to talk to.
After graduating, Mitriced moved to Watts, Los Angeles with her great grandmother because she wanted to take care of her as she was 91 years old and was living on her own. Every Wednesday night they would have dinner together and everything was going well until September 16th, 2009. On this day Mitrice told her great grandmother she wasn’t going to be able to have dinner with her, so instead, they spent some time together in the house before Mitrice left for her plans.
In 2009, Mitrice had ended her two-year relationship with her girlfriend Tessa Moon. Her family said she had been showing signs of suffering from bipolar disorder. However, there was no official diagnosis made and Mitrice was not taking any medication.
At the time of her disappearance, Mitrice was working as a clerk at a shipping company in Santa Fe Springs, as well as starting to perform as a dancer on Friday nights at Debra’s, in Long Beach.
On September 16th, 2009 Mitrice left her great grandmother’s house around 5 pm and was planning to go to the beach. She drove 40 miles to Malibu and arrived around 7 pm. She then went to a restaurant called Geoffrey’s and the valet man told her that they only do valet parking. He told Mitrice he had to go and park the person in front of her and would be right back to park her car.
When the valet man came back to Mitrice, she was sitting in his personal car, when he asked her why she was in his car, she responded with words that didn’t form a sentence. Mitrice was escorted to the restaurant where she ordered a cocktail and a $60 steak.
While at the restaurant, she noticed another group of people sitting there who seemed like they were having fun, so she decided to pull up a chair and join them. They allow her to join them and they began talking. They reported her conversation not making any sense and was saying odd things.
The group eventually ended up leaving and then Mitrice left the restaurant shortly after. As Mitrice was leaving the manager called her back as she did not pay her bill. She first said her friends had paid for it but the manager told her this was not true and that she needed to pay.
The manager could tell something was not right so they asked for a number that they could call to get a credit card number. Mitrice ended up giving her great-grandmother’s phone number. On the phone, her great-grandmother was so confused about the situation and she was told she had to come to the restaurant to sign it or fax over a signature they would not be able to settle the bill.
At this point, other people who were at the restaurant and even employees were offering to pay for Mitrice’s bill but the manager was concerned about her well-being so he called The Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.
When an officer arrived at the restaurant, they did a sobriety test on Mitrice and determined she was sober, and asked her if there was any way she could pay for the bill. She told the officer that she may have left her wallet in her car and asked to go look for it. While searching her car they didn’t find her wallet but they did find some marijuana in the centre console.
Mitrice was then arrested and taken to The Lost Hills Sheriff’s station, which was about 15 miles from the restaurant, and Mitrice’s car was towed to a nearby lot.
On September 17th, 2009, Mitrice was released on her own recognizance from the station at around 12:28 pm.
Her phone, purse and drivers licence were left inside her vehicle. She was 40 miles from home, with none of her belongings and transportation.
This was the last time Mitrice Richardson was seen and heard from.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Mitrice Richardson was released from the station as she did not show signs of mental illness or intoxication. They went on to say Mitrice declined to wait in the lobby until morning.
On August 9th, 2010, Mitrice Richardson’s skeletal remains were found by park rangers deep in Dark Canyon, on the 818 side of the Santa Monica Mountains, near Monte Nido.
The location where Mitrice’s remains were discovered, was seven miles from The Lost Hills Sheriff’s station.
Her body was discovered naked, her jeans and bar were found 500 feet away from her body. Her remains were in a partially mummified state, which was considered odd due to the environmental condition of where she was found.
Mitrice Richardson’s death remains undetermined and authorities found no evidence of foul play.
Mitrice’s parents sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for a separate wrongful death suit because their daughter was released from the station in a disturbed condition with none of her belongings and no means of calling for assistance.
This lawsuit was privately settled in August 2011, for $900,000 between the Richardson family and The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In December 2016, the California Attorney General’s Office concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the deputies involved in the handling of Mitrice’s case.
Mitrice Richardson’s case remains open with a $30,000 reward for any new information in the disappearance and death of Mitrice Richardson.
If you have any information on Mitrice Lavon Richardson’s case please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 323-267-4800.
Resources and Further Information
Investigation Discovery: Disappeared Season 6 Episode 1 “Lost in the Dark”