Nearly a yearlong search for Mitrice Richardson, whose whereabouts were not known since last September, came to tragic end Thursday after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the skeletal remains discovered Monday in Malibu Canyon were those of Richardson.
The 25-year-old Richardson went missing nearly a year ago after sheriff's deputies released her Sept. 17 from custody after midnight. She was booked at the Malibu-Lost Hills station for behaving strangely and failing to pay her $89 dinner bill at a Malibu restaurant.
The Los Angeles area woman was detained by sheriff's deputies on a citizen's arrest complaint made by the restaurant manager in September, according to a CNN report.
Hours after stepping out of the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff's Station, Richardson went missing.
Authorities then began searching the area that spanned from the Malibu mountains to Las Vegas, where they were notified by people who spotted Richardson there.
Meanwhile, Richardson’s parents have slammed the sheriff's department for releasing their young daughter from custody in the middle of dark and cold night of Sept. 17th.
Long search came to a tragic end
The mystery of Richardson’s whereabouts apparently solved after Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca confirmed Thursday that her badly decomposed body has been discovered, CNN says.
"The circumstances of this case are tragic," Baca told a news conference on Richardson’s death Thursday. "I am mindful of the fact that a mother and father are in deep grieving at this moment."
Skeletal remains, which include skull and bones, were discovered near an abandoned marijuana grove in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu by state park rangers who were checking on an abandoned marijuana plantation, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.
"It's incredibly treacherous terrain," Whitmore said of the remote site where Skeletal remains were found. "There is no road, no trail even if you know exactly where you are going."
No sign of foul play
Baca says there is no indication that Richardson was slain.
"We have no indication of a homicide at this point," Baca said.
At the news conference, Baca said that detectives will continue investigating the young woman’s death but her badly decomposed body may not offer many clues.
"I don't believe that the remains are capable of telling us a story," he said.
Sfgate.com reported assistant coroner Ed Winter as saying that more than 90 percent of the woman’s skeleton was found, and items of her clothing were found nearby, possibly scattered by animals.
Richardson family reacts angrily
Meanwhile, the Richardson’s parents have slammed the sheriff's department for releasing their young daughter from custody in the middle of dark and cold night of Sept. 17th.
The family is holding sheriff's deputies responsible for their daughter's death, contending that they released her around 12:15 a.m. even though her car had been towed and she had no mobile and money.
"A lot of people wronged my daughter that night," Richardson’s father Michael said shortly after Baca finished the news conference. "It was a wrongful release based on her mental state."
"This book is not closed," he said angrily. "More chapters need to be written. We are going to hold people accountable.… I will continue to fight for her."
Accuses deputies of negligence or criminal intent
Michael said Richardson, the college honors graduate and former beauty queen, should have been held longer for a mental health evaluation as the owner and customers at the restaurant reported that she had been acting strangely, CNN reports.
"Based on my daughter's mental condition that night, she wasn't able to fend for herself," he said. "Mel Gibson gets driven to his car, and Charlie Sheen gets taken to his house."
"Now you guys are going to see the real Michael Richardson come out," an irate Michael said. "Why can't I speculate? Maybe the sheriff had something to do with it."