It’s been almost a week to the day since 24 year old Mitrice Richardson disappeared after being arrested and booked at the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department when she failed to pay her bill at a nearby restaurant and was found to have weed in her possession.
There’s been some media coverage around her disappearance, a lot of it unflattering to the L.A. County Sheriff’s for their alleged role in her disappearance.
Today, I received the following emails from the sheriff’s department with their side of the story as to what happened while Mitrice was in their custody.
I saw you had this story on your blog. I just wanted to update you on what happened with this incident. The female jailer spent a long time trying to convince Mitrice Richardson to stay at the station, offering her a bunk secluded from all of the inmates, telling her she was free to leave at anytime. She told her it was better that she stay until the morning and the jailer even offered to give her breakfast. This was after the jailer allowed her to make multiple telephone calls to get someone to pick her up, to no avail.
I know the family is distraught and rightfully so, but the deputies and jailer are not the villains in this situation. In addition, Lost Hills Station actually took the missing report, as a courtesy report for LAPD, which is something else the media has reported in error on this story.
I know you have been hearing a great deal of negative publicity about the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson. Most of the news stories have focused on her release from custody at 0030 hours last Thursday. Please know that your Sheriff’s Station personnel acted appropriately and legally during the entire event. Our deputies compassionately tried to find someone to pay Mitrice’s bill at Geoffrey’s in an attempt to avoid an arrest. When that didn’t happen, she was placed under a citizens arrest by the management and brought to the station for booking. While at the station, she was allowed to use the phone to call someone to pick her up. When she was unable to find a ride home, she was afforded the opportunity to remain in our custody until morning and leave at her convenience. She declined. Our lobby was open for her use all night, but she did not avail herself of that safe haven. Once she was processed and found to have no wants or warrants we could no longer legally detain Mitrice for the two pending misdemeanor charges.
Ms. Richardson was checked for intoxication by both the field deputies and our station jailer. To our knowledge she had one drink during 2 – 3 hours at Geoffrey’s. No one found her to be intoxicated at any juncture of the incident. Based on our personal observations Ms. Richardson did not display a diminished capacity which would have precluded her release.
I have thoroughly examined this incident and found my personnel to have acted professionally, compassionately and within the law. The fact that Mitrice resides in L.A. City dictates that they handle the missing persons investigation. We continue our efforts to assist LAPD in every way we can to locate Mitrice.
We all continue to pray that Mitrice will be found safe and sound.
Captain Thomas G. Martin