Congresswoman Maxine Waters Requests FBI Investigation in disappearance of Mitrice Richardson

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) sent the following letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller last week, requesting an investigation into the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson. Ms. Richardson is a constituent of Congresswoman Waters who has been missing since September. The text of the letter is below:

December 16, 2009

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20535

Dear Director Mueller:

As the Congresswoman for California’s 35th District, I am extremely concerned about the wellbeing of Mitrice Richardson, a constituent who disappeared on September 17, 2009 following her arrest by the LA County Sheriff’s Department. Serving on the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, which is responsible for oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), I am also concerned about the failure of the FBI Los Angeles Regional Office to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mitrice’s disappearance.

Based on reports I have read, there are questions as to whether the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station acted properly in releasing this young woman during the predawn hours without money or transportation, all while she was suffering from what the Los Angeles Police Department’s doctors have concluded to be bipolar disorder.

Due to delays in the local authorities’ investigation, the family has launched an aggressive campaign to raise money and resources to personally investigate Mitrice’s disappearance. Constituents from across my district are calling for a federal investigation and have inundated my Los Angeles office with phone calls, letters, and faxes requesting my support in their efforts to find Mitrice.

Michael Richardson, Mitrice’s father, has sold off some of his personal assets in order to raise money towards his daughter’s recovery. It is understandable that a loving parent would take extreme steps to find his daughter. However, I believe that the FBI, with its trained and experienced personnel and abundance of resources, is better equipped than a private individual for such an investigation. In addition, the FBI has the responsibility to pursue cases implicating federal criminal or civil rights statutes. I believe the circumstances and facts of this case warrant the bureau’s involvement.

Therefore, it is with great urgency that I respectfully request that the FBI open an investigation into Mitrice’s disappearance and the circumstances surrounding her arrest, detention, and release from the custody of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Maxine Waters
Member of Congress

Mitrice Richardson Update: 90 Days Later—Now A Homicide Investigation

Mitrice Richardson Update: 90 Days Later—Now A Homicide Investigation

December 16, 2009 - From Jasmyne Cannick

Okay so last Friday I went with Michael Richardson, Mitrice’s father, to meet with Sheriff Lee Baca in Monterey Park at the Sheriff’s headquarters.

The meeting was…cordial considering this was the first time that Sheriff Baca had met with any member of the Richardson family regarding the disappearance of Mitrice. In the meeting besides myself and Mr. Richardson were Malibu Lost Hills station Captain Tom Martin.

I can’t say that much came out of the meeting. I mean let’s be realistic here, what is Sheriff Baca going to say except for I am sorry about the disappearance of your daughter?

What did come out of the meeting was the determination that the Sheriff’s Department would assign Mitrice’s disappearance to their homicide department. That’s a start, a late one but a start. It was also determined that another search would take place this week. Because of the rainstorm that just came through Southern California, it makes conditions very good to back out to Malibu and search for Mitrice.

When this is all said and done, Mitrice’s disappearance has shown us that there are some holes on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s policies that need to be filled. Namely, the conditions on which people are released after being booked. The policy can’t be one thing at one station and another elsewhere. The policy needs to be changed and it needs to be implemented throughout the Sheriff’s Department. In addition, the policy around jurisdiction needs to be changed as well. What kind of sense did it make to transfer jurisdiction of Mitrice’s disappearance to the LAPD because she lived in Watts, although she disappeared in Malibu? My point exactly. That needs to be changed and it will be once this is all said and done. According to Captain Martin, the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department doesn’t record from any of its video cameras. They are simply used as live cams. If this is true, that needs to be changed as well. What sense does it make to record telephone calls, but not the video of inmates being transferred in and out of the station, what goes on in the lobby of the station, the booking process of arrestees, etc? That just doesn’t seem right to me and if anybody out there knows something different, holla.

From the beginning, this entire situation was handled badly by both the people at Geoffrey’s Restaurant who called the police on her after she failed to pay her bill. Yes—Mitrice was acting strange according to eyewitness accounts, but it wasn’t until she failed to pay her almost $90 bill that they called the police on her and that is what she was arrested for. Well that and some personal use marijuana found in her car. Two offences that didn’t warrant her being arrested and her car being impounded. Had none of that happened, she wouldn’t have been released in the wee hours of the morning by the Sheriff’s to begin with.

Throughout the entire 90 days that Mitrice has been missing, my hats go off to the Richardson family for there perseverance regarding Mitrice. It’s not easy searching for a loved one and coming up against roadblocks at every corner. I am not even related to Mitrice, but can tell you that my frustration caused me to almost have a nervous breakdown—and that’s not an easy thing to do.

What I have learned over the past three months is that some things just don’t matter enough to some people.

I can count on one hand the number of Black elected officials that reached out regarding Mitrice’s disappearance to the Richardson family: Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Councilmembers Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, Carson Councilmember Mike Gipson, Assemblymember Steve Bradford, and Senator Curren Price.

The lack of response from Congressmember Maxine Water regarding helping to get a Federal investigation underway into Mitrice’s disappearance has left me without words. I expect that kind of behavior from other Congressional members in California, but not from her.

I mean even if she was unwilling or unable to do what the family was asking, a return phone call wouldn’t have hurt the situation or future support from the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s, Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement, or California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations. I’m just saying.

Short of Mitrice being seen across state lines, getting a Federal investigation initiated could only happen with the support of a Congressional member, preferably the Congressional Members who represents the missing person.

Given the fact that in Orange County, the Sheriff’s Department has managed to fine several missing persons, both dead and alive, the most recent being the body of missing 21-year-old college baseball player James Wernke, you have to question why Mitrice hasn’t been located…dead or alive. It’s a big WTF in my book. I mean the LAPD and the LASD have some of the smartest people in law enforcement working for them. I agree with the family that an outside agency, namely the FBI needs to get involved in this. It’s been three $%^$##@ months!!!

So that’s it. That’s the latest. Waiting on the search. Waiting on the homicide team to come up with something. Still waiting for Congresswoman Maxine Waters to return a phone call—if not to me at least to eh family. Waiting for any news relating to where Mitrice Richardson is.

Is this the part where I am supposed to say Merry Christmas? Bah humbug.


LOS ANGELES – Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board of Supervisors today extended a $10,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Mitrice Richardson, the 24-year-old South Los Angeles woman who disappeared nearly three months ago after her release from the Sheriff’s Substation in Calabasas.

The action extends the reward the Board approved September 29 at the Supervisor’s request for information leading to Ms. Richardson’s whereabouts and the criminal prosecution of any person(s) involved in her disappearance.

A Cal State Fullerton graduate, Ms. Richardson was living with her great-grandmother in South Los Angeles. She mysteriously disappeared September 17 at approximately 1:25 a.m. – following her predawn release from the Calabasas Sheriff's substation – where she was booked for allegedly failing to pay a restaurant bill.

Her vanishing prompted massive but unsuccessful ground and air searches by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department and trained volunteers.

“Every minute counts in our effort to safely reunite Ms. Richardson with her family,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. He noted the current investigation is being conducted by the LAPD.

Richardson, who had no transportation, cell phone or purse when she left the station at about 1:25 a.m., was reportedly wearing jeans and a dark T-shirt. With the exception of a couple of probable sightings later that morning in the canyon, Richardson, a slender, 5-foot-5 African American woman, has not been heard from since.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas urges anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mitrice Richardson to contact LAPD Detectives Chuck Knolls or Steven Eguchi at (213) 486-6900.

Father Puts Cars Up for Sale to Raise Money to Find Missing Daughter

December 13, 2009

Father Puts Cars Up for Sale to Raise Money to Find Missing Daughter

LOS ANGELES, CA - Michael Richardson, father of Mitrice Richardson has announced he’s selling his two custom designed cars in an effort to raise money to independently search for his daughter’s whereabouts. 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson, a Cal State Fullerton graduate, mysteriously disappeared following her September 17 predawn release from a sheriff’s substation near Malibu where she was booked for allegedly failing to pay a restaurant bill and possession of personal use marijuana.

For sale is a 1966 fully restored pearl white classic Chevy Impala. He’s also put up for sale his 1999 customized Cadillac Escalade that includes a sound system, interior video system, and custom rims. Mr. Richardson, who recently dropped out of school to go back to working one full time job and one part time job seven days a week, says that during this economic recession, he’s had to creatively figure out ways to make ends meet. Concerned with finding his daughter before the Christmas holiday, he made a difficult decision to put his two cars up for sale to help cover the costs of finding his daughter.

“I worked very hard and saved my money over the years to buy these cars,” explains Mr. Richardson. “It was a hobby of mine to customize them both. But with Mitrice missing for almost three months and there being no news regarding her disappearance, I feel it’s time for my family to make some sacrifices in an effort to find her. Selling my cars is one way to bring in the money that we need to do so.”

Mr. Richardson, who works as Eligibility Manager managing state and Federal medical insurance at the Saban Free Clinic and as an Emergency Registration representative for the Whittier Presbyterian Inter-Community Hospital, says that even working two jobs is not enough in this economy to make it. And with added burden of trying to find his daughter, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring Mitrice home.

“People don’t understand that life doesn’t pause when your child is missing,” Mr. Richardson continues. “My wife and I are still expected to go to work everyday, smile, pay our bills, and still make time to search for Mitrice. It’s hard for working families who don’t have a child missing, so imagine what life is like for families who do.”

The cars have been posted on and Mr. Richardson is hoping to make enough money from the sales of both vehicles to aide in an independent search for his daughter. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recently elevated the search for Mitrice Richardson to a homicide investigation freeing up more county law enforcement resources in the search.

For more information on the sale of Mr. Richardson’s vehicles, please visit, keywords, Central L.A./Cars and trucks by owners. 1966 Chevy Impala | 1999 Cadillac Escalade

Federal probe sought in case of woman who disappeared outside Malibu sheriff's station

Federal probe sought in case of woman who disappeared outside Malibu sheriff's station
December 2, 2009 | 6:47 am

The family of Mitrice Richardson, who went missing after her release from the Malibu sheriff's station in September, will call today for a federal investigation into her disappearance.

The request is the latest effort by the family to find Richardson, whose disappearance has garnered much attention, including segments on cable TV news shows and a cover story in People magazine.

The trail has gone cold since late October, when the family said there were sightings of Richardson in South Los Angeles.

By all accounts, the Cal State Fullerton graduate who was living in South L.A. was responsible, employed and working on a way to pay for graduate school. Detectives, family and friends believe her disappearance is probably related to a psychological problem that surfaced the night of Sept. 16 when Richardson went to Geoffrey's restaurant in Malibu, told people she was from Mars and began spouting gibberish.

Detectives interviewed a group of Geoffrey's diners she joined uninvited -- who described her as odd but entertaining -- and her colleagues at the Mercantile Freight office in Santa Fe Springs who last saw her at work the day of her arrest. LAPD Det. Steven Eguchi said they told him that she was "giddy, really giggly. Out of the ordinary."

Richardson's odd behavior -- as well as her failure to pay for a steak and a drink -- prompted restaurant staff members to call sheriff's deputies. Richardson was arrested, then released at 1:25 a.m., having no car, purse or cellphone.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department has since come under fire for not holding her for a psychological evaluation. The Los Angeles Police Department is handling the matter as a missing-person case, assigning it to the robbery-homicide division, which has greater resources.

-- Shelby Grad