Monday, December 19, 2016

Mystery Monday: Mitrice Richardson

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

Today's mystery was requested by the lovely Military Wife. (Her blog is a blast, if you don't already read it!) It surrounds the mystery of the sudden disappearance of this woman:




24-year-old Mitrice Richardson was a beauty queen and recent college graduate, having earned her degree in psychology. On September 17, 2009, she was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu when she inexplicably stopped at a popular coastal restaurant.



Her behavior throughout her time at Geoffrey's was bizarre, to say the least. It started with the valet, who came back from parking a car to find her car empty. Mitrice was in the valet's car, going through his CD collection. She spoke in full sentences, but used words that didn't make sense within those sentences. She left his car and went into the restaurant.



Inside the restaurant, she asked for a table, where she ordered a cocktail and a $65 steak.



She suddenly asked to join a large party seated nearby. Once at the table, she began rambling about astrological signs and telling people her mom was Mother Earth. After the party was gone, she tried to leave without paying, at which point she casually admitted she couldn't pay. She had the restaurant call her great-grandmother, who offered to give her credit card number over the phone. They wouldn't take it, telling her she would have to show up in person. 



Even though staff members offered to pitch in and pay her bill, the restaurant owner decided to call the police, perhaps because of her erratic behavior. Maybe it seemed she'd be safer in police custody than out on her own...



The police gave her a sobriety test and determined she was sober. Going through her car, they found some marijuana, which she admitted was hers, and arrested her for "defrauding an innkeeper" and possession of marijuana (a misdemeanor). This is her mugshot:



Soon after, Mitrice's mom found out about the incident and called the restaurant. They told her what happened. She called the sheriff's department and was assured that they would have Mitrice call when she got there. They never did. Her mom had a young child sleeping at home and couldn't leave.



After booking her, they released her at 12:30 a.m. with no car and no way to get home. They said they had "no reason to hold her" and she showed no signs of incapacitation.



Later that morning, a resident in Monte Nido, California (six miles from the station) called to say he'd found a young woman sitting in his back yard. When he asked if she was okay, she said she was just resting. When he looked out another window, she was gone. Her description fit Mitrice's. That was the only known sighting of her. 



Search dogs picked up her scent there and followed it to a nearby home. It faded there. They found footprints that appeared to be from her sneakers and determined that the wearer of those shoes was first walking, then running. The shoeprints disappeared suddenly.



Eleven months later, Mitrice's body was found in a creek bed near a ranch that is reportedly a pornography production location. Rocks nearby had graffiti that had recently been sprayed on them. The graffiti depicted naked drawings of an African-American woman. Her body was found in Monte Nido--the same community where the sighting had occurred.



To this day, the case has never been solved. The family has filed several lawsuits. More importantly, though, the state attorney general's office has opened an investigation into the handling of the case.



What do you think happened to Mitrice Richardson?

41 comments:

  1. Dumping a young lady out onto the street at 12:30 at night was a bad idea. It seems someone took advantage of that and did who knows what to her.

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    1. The sheriff's department is going to have to pay for that mistake! I find it odd that she was acting so strangely at the restaurant, yet the police insist she wasn't acting incapacitated at the station. But it's their job to protect...and in this case, they failed at that.

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  2. This story infuriates me!! They did win their lawsuit for like $2mill. Settled of course. I want to cry for her poor mom. What a sad story and totally avoidable!!

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    1. I'm still puzzling over what was wrong with her. A psychotic break of some sort?

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  3. This was sad indeed (echoing MilitaryPugWife's comment).




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    1. Definitely. SO many tragedies out there.

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  4. This is horrible! I wonder if maybe she had a minor stroke? The symptoms kind of sound like it. The police should never have put her out on the street in the middle of the night. I'm glad they won the lawsuit, but money won't replace her. Good mystery this week.

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    1. Interesting! That could be. I didn't even think of a stroke. Had she been older, that would have been the first thing I thought.

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  5. So sad! Those who handled this case should be charged and prosecuted.

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    1. I agree! Of course, that won't happen...at most, they'll be told they acted inappropriately and maybe one person will be fired over it.

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  6. Wow....that law enforcement agency needs their head read. It sure sounds like she was drugged doesn't it?

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    1. I wondered about that. Her mom said she didn't have any mental problems, so it wasn't that she was off her meds or anything.

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  7. Did the police test her for drugs? I can't help wondering if it was not the marijuana she had in her possession. You'd think they would have tested her since she was acting so strange. To just release her and never call anyone to get her is crazy.

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    1. They gave her a sobriety test and she passed... Which is what made me wonder if maybe she had something mentally wrong? But they didn't take blood to do a full drug test, from what I can tell...

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  8. Unless she was suffering from a mental illness, it totally sounds like she was high. But they didn't detect that??? So strange.
    And I agree, releasing her at 12:30am was a bad, bad move. No matter what, she was obviously not in her right frame of mind of should have been detained at least till the morning. Almost makes me wonder if a sick police officer was somehow involved.

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    1. She passed a sobriety test, though. Can someone with certain types of drugs in their system pass that? I don't know much about it!

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  9. sounds like she definitely had a mental breakdown of some sort and instead of just being released at 12:30a she should have been sent to a hospital for tests. No doubt she was found by someone who took advantage of her and caused her death. Very sad

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    1. I keep feeling like it's some kind of mental breakdown, too.

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  10. I agree with what other have said -- maybe some type of breakdown that landed her in a bad place...

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    1. She definitely ran to the wrong part of town. I guess there are people out there just waiting to take advantage of young girls?

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  11. Releasing her in the dead of night without transportation...why? There was something wrong with her behavior, for sure. Sadly, they will probably never know what happened.

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    1. I wonder what the rules generally are for police departments. Do they have to look out for her well-being? And if she had just walked out of the restaurant that night, she might have ended up with a similar fate...so it's a tough one.

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  12. I feel so sorry for her family. It sounds like she wasn't fully mentally together on the day she went missing. I hope that her death was quick and not incredibly painful. Or at the very least, I hope she was not sane enough to recognize what was happening to her, whether she died by accident or as a result of malice. Did they do an autopsy?

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    1. Cause of death couldn't be determined. I believe her remains were in the elements to long...they'd been "partially mummified." http://malibusurfsidenews-blog.blogspot.com/2010/11/county-coroner-rules-cause-of-death-for.html

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  13. That's awful. It sounds as if she was having a psychotic episode.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That's what I said! A psychotic break of some sort. If it had been drugs, she wouldn't have been able to pass the sobriety test, but maybe I don't know enough about drugs!

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  14. Her rambling and remarks at the restaurant and after tells me she was having some sort of breakdown like Margot Kidder had many years ago and Anne Heche. It just shows how people who have a mental breakdown get lost in any shuffle. I see this so often and it is shameful. It is shameful that the cops just "did their job" without going any further and making sure someone was there to pick her up. The roads on a dark night are dangerous and she was killed by who knows and then dumped. I do blame the police for this and the way things were handled.

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    1. I forgot about both of those!!! And what about Shelly Duvall? I know something like that can come on very suddenly, so there doesn't even have to be a history.

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  15. I can't believe the police just let her go without a car or other means to get home. It seems they would at least of made sure she was taken to her house. That's so sad. They may never find who killed her.

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    1. I seriously doubt they will...they couldn't even identify how she died, so it would probably have been impossible to get DNA.

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  16. Sad case indeed. Makes me wonder if there was something in the marijuana that didn't show up in the sobriety test. It also seems an odd time to be releasing someone from jail. Wonder if there were any other cases in the area similar to hers.

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    1. So that can happen? Tainted marijuana maybe? I just assumed it was something that happened to her before her drive...maybe she stopped at a friend's house who injected her with something?

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  17. Wow that's terrible! And so sad. It sounds almost as if someone drugged her somehow, or was blackmailing her. What a loss!

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    1. Either that or a mental break. Someone mentioned Margot Kidder--that was a bipolar episode.

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  18. This is so sad! The police should have kept her and not let her go! So very sad!!!

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    1. I agree. I'm sure they took the, "Not our responsibility" stance on it, but they could have at least tried to locate someone to come get her.

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  19. While there might not have been a reason to hold her, I can't imagine any reason why they felt it was appropriate to put a woman out on the street late at night with no means of transportation. I wonder if maybe she had some kind of underlying medical issue that might have prompted the strange behavior.

    Either way, what a sad story. That poor woman.

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  20. Like Valerie, I wondered if she had a stroke. Shame on the police for releasing her with no car, no one to pick her up, etc.

    The graffiti is horrifying. It looks like her, and it must have taken hours to do. What in the world happened there?

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  21. How strange. Perhaps the stroke theory is correct. Weird things can make someone behave erratically. It's too bad that she didn't get the help she needed before the tragic end.

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  22. This is such a sad story - the police might not have had a reason to hold her, but I think it's very irresponsible to release her at that time of night, without checking how she was going to get home. I was kinda hoping this story would have a happy ending :( - I hope her family gets the closure and the answers they deserve

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  23. Sad story. I think she must have had health or mental problems, and was found by the wrong people.

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