Malibu, CA – Over 300 volunteers, mostly law enforcement personnel, showed up in Malibu Jan. 9 to assist in a joint search between the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department for 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson. Mitrice, who has been missing for 115 days, was arrested for not paying an $89 dinner bill at Geoffrey’s restaurant in Malibu. She was released from custody at 12:30 a.m. on September 17, 2009 without her car from the sheriff’s Malibu-Lost Hills Station.
The search, kicked off at 7:30 a.m. with more than 300 volunteers on foot, horseback and all-terrain vehicles. 100 search dogs were brought in to assist with the efforts as well a helicopter which was used to transport volunteers into the steep Malibu Canyon terrain. The volunteers, who were mostly law enforcement personnel, came from as far as Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Orange Counties.
Neither Sheriff Lee Baca nor newly appointed LAPD Chief Charlie Beck were present for today’s search efforts, which is being described as among the largest ever conducted by the department. There were no elected officials or local community activists on hand.
Both of Mitrice’s parents, Latice Sutton and Michael Richardson, were there for the search and thanked volunteers for coming out and assisting in the efforts to find their daughter.
Sheriff Lee Baca, who on December 14 opened a homicide investigation into the disappearance Mitrice, assured the family earlier this week if today’s search efforts didn’t uncover any new leads that he’d personally get the FBI involved, something the family has been pushing for over the past several months.
“We need the FBI to get involved,” commented Michael Richardson, Mitrice’s father. “We don’t need anymore lip service and empty promises. It’s 2010, my daughter went missing in September of 2009. Vanished–like that into thin air. We need the FBI to get involved at this point. What more is it going to take to make my daughter’s disappearance important enough to merit attention from the FBI?
Last month after weeks of public pleas for help, Congresswoman Maxine Waters sent a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to look into the disappearance of Mitrice and the circumstances of her arrest and release from sheriff’s custody. Richardson lives in Watts, an represented by Waters. Waters sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the FBI.
To date, neither Congresswoman Waters nor the FBI have been in touch with the Mitrice’s family.
The search concluded at approximately 5:30 p.m. with nothing new being discovered. At the debriefing, the family was told by LASD Lt. Paul Becker that it would be about a week before an official recap of today’s search efforts would be available.
Mitrice Richardson will be missing for four months on January 14, 2010.
For more information, please visit www.bringmitricehome.org.
If you have any information regarding Mitrice, please call LAPD Robbery and Homicide Detectives (213) 486-6900.
About Mitrice Richardson
Missing From: Malibu, CA
Date Missing: 9/16/2009
Height: 5’ 5”
Weight: 125 lbs.
Tattoos: Lower abdomen, Chinese looking symbol on back of neck, wording Tessa and paw prints on stomach