Body of Mitrice Richardson found, dad alleges negligence

The body of Mitrice Richardson was discovered Monday in a California canyon by officials looking for marijuana plants, after she went missing nearly a year ago following an arrest.

Richardson, who was 24 at the time of her disappearance, vanished upon her release after the arrest despite displaying odd behavior and being ill-equipped to make her way home:

Mitrice Richardson was arrested nearly a year ago after being unable to pay an $89 dinner tab at a Malibu restaurant. She was released in the dark, early-morning hours of last Sept. 17 without a car, cellphone or purse, sparking criticism of Sheriff’s Department personnel. Her family and others questioned the department’s procedures for releasing people at night, as well as whether she should have been held for a mental health evaluation after customers at the restaurant reported that she had been acting strangely.

Her father, Michael, angrily railed against the Sheriff’s Department at a conference announcing the discovery of Richardson’s skeletal remains:

“A lot of people wronged my daughter that night,” Michael Richardson said shortly after Sheriff Lee Baca finished a news conference that identified the remains of his daughter. “It was a wrongful release based on her mental state.”

Both of Richardson’s parents have since filed suit against the Sheriff’s Department for their handling of the woman’s release.