The almost year long search for 25-year old Mitrice Richardson has come to a tragic end in California’s Malibu Canyon this week. Back in September 2009 Richardson was arrested after she was unable to pay an $89 dinner tab at Geoffrey’s restaurant in Malibu. Authorities released her in the middle of the night with no money, no phone, and no car. That was the last time anyone saw Mitrice until this week when her decomposed body was discovered by park rangers looking for illegal marijuana plants. Over the last 11 months sightings of the former beauty pageant contestant were reported, and the search for Richardson reached as far as Las Vegas, Nevada. The Sherriff’s department came under fire for the incident and at a time when authorities and the media have been accused of paying less attention to how they handle minorities who go missing. Back in May, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Richardson’s civil rights were violated when she was released with no means of transportation or communication. Her parents have filed separate civil negligence lawsuits against authorities and her father, Michael Richardson, claims Mitrice was bipolar and should have been held at the station due to lack of mental capacity. Restaurant staff admitted that Mitrice displayed odd behavior and even talked about being from Mars. The Sherriff’s Department claim Richardson showed no signs that would require a mental health evaluation. Richardson was a Cal State Fullerton graduate and worked as an executive assistant at a freight company. She was considering pursuing a degree in psychology. Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca says they will continue to investigate Richardson’s death, but her remains may not offer many clues.
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