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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two Cities Add to Reward for Solution to Mitrice Richardson Case

• Calabasas and Agoura Hills Join City of Malibu in Effort to Learn How Young Woman Died

BY ANNE SOBLE

Although the headlines are less frequent, the friends and supporters of justice for Mitrice Richardson have not lessened their full-time commitment to stay involved until a cause of death has been determined for the woman who would have turned 27 in April.
The group recently attended city council meetings in Agoura Hills and Calabasas to seek additional reward money to provide a greater incentive for someone who has information that might help to solve the mystery of how Richardson died to come forward.
On Tuesday, Calabasas and Agoura Hills officials announced approval of a joint $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the death of Mitrice Richardson if it was a homicide.
This brings the current reward total to $30,000 as the City of Malibu is committed to a $15,000 reward even if it is not budgeted annually, according to City Manager Jim Thorsen.
The Malibu reward is defined as “for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson.”
In addition, Richardson’s supporters will urge reactivation of the $10,000 reward previously offered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors “for successful resolution of any criminal prosecution of person or persons who were involved in her disappearance.”
Some of the public officials involved in the local rewards privately indicated interest in determining whether the parents of the dead woman, who split a $900,000 settlement from the sheriff’s department, would consider contributing to the reward total.
If each parent agreed to add $5000, it could bring the reward total to $50,000, which is considered a strong incentive that might overcome any reticence about stepping forward with information.
Mitrice Richardson’s nude skeletal remains were found in a remote Malibu Canyon location in the Calabasas area on Aug. 9, 2010, nearly 11 months after the 24-year-old honors college graduate and beauty pageant competitor went missing following her release from the custody of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station just after midnight on Sept. 17, 2009.
Richardson had been put under citizen’s arrest at Geoffrey’s restaurant on the night of Sept. 16, 2009, after failing to pay an $89 dinner bill and behaving strangely.
Supporters say her bizarre actions should have led to her being 5150’d, or held for medical evaluation, instead of being released without a means of transportation, cell phone or wallet in a dark industrial area with which she was not familiar.
“Although years have passed since Ms. Richardson disappeared, we are hoping this reward will help trigger the public’s memory about that late September night and early morning hours,” Calabasas Mayor Mary Sue Maurer said in a written statement.
Agoura Hills Mayor John Edelston added, “We are hoping that this reward will prompt someone to come forward with a key piece of information,” without which investigators will not be able to  determine whether Richardson’s death was the result of homicide.
Anyone with information on the case can call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477). They can also visit http://sheriff.lacounty. gov/wps/portal/lasd/contact

TRAGEDY—Mitrice Richardson, an honors college graduate who aspired to begin doctoral work in psychology, may have been experiencing the onset of a bipolar episode, which triggered unusual speech and behavior that should have resulted in medical attention that she did not receive at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

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