Michael Richardson thanks community for help in getting FBI involved in daughter’s death investigation

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Michael Richardson thanks community for help in getting FBI involved in daughter’s death investigation
January 10, 2011 9:37 pm

By Staff Report

Michael Richardson and family friend Jasmyne Cannick arrive for a press conference with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca where Baca declared that the remains found in Malibu Canyon belong to Mitrice Richardson. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has announced that he supports the further examination of the remains of Mitrice Richardson, the 25-year-old Cal State Fullerton graduate who disappeared in September 2009 after being released from the Lost Hills/Malibu sheriff’s station and was found dead nearly a year later.

Richardson will be exhumed for further examination by the FBI, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. In addition, clothing found near her skeletal remains and a hair discovered nearby will be examined.

This is welcome news to Michael Richardson, her father, who has been calling for FBI involvement in his daughter’s disappearance since a December 2009 meeting with Baca.

“It’s because of the community that we are finally getting the FBI involved,” Richardson says. “The community, Black newspapers, and KJLH family are responsible for keeping my daughter’s story alive and demanding justice and we are very grateful for their support. Every letter of support and bone sent to Baca during our ‘Bone to Pick’ campaign made a difference.”

“I am responding to the family’s wishes,” Baca said in a phone interview. “But I also think it doesn’t hurt having the FBI say, ‘We’ve examined this and find the following.’ I think the needs of the family should be my first priority.”

Baca said he called Steven Martinez, head of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, in late December to request the agency’s involvement.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, confirmed that Baca had had discussions with Martinez and had submitted a written request for the agency’s assistance.

The L.A. County coroner has agreed to the exhumation, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of the coroner’s office, Baca said. The coroner’s report on Richardson’s remains left the cause of death as undetermined.

No date has been set for the exhumation. “We have to coordinate with the FBI about when this is going to happen,” Winter said.

The Sheriff’s Department has been dogged by criticism ever since Richardson disappeared after walking out of the Lost Hills station in Calabasas shortly after midnight Sept. 17, 2009. She had been arrested for not paying a dinner bill at Geoffrey’s restaurant in Malibu. Her car was impounded and in it were her cellphone and purse.

The department, which faces two negligence lawsuits in the matter, was found to have correctly followed policy that early morning.

There will be a fundraiser for the Mitrice Richardson Foundation on Friday, January 14 at 8:30 p.m. at Lucy Florence Coffeehouse hosted by comedian Derrick Ellis (BET’s Comic View, Def Comedy Jam). For more information, please call (323) 867-3347 or log onto bringmitricejustice.org.