Michael Richardson, father of missing Mitrice Richardson and Tessa Moon, Mitrice’s girlfriend talk to me at the offices of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper about their frustration with the sheriff’s department, the City of Malibu, and the LAPD. (Photo: Jason Lewis)
It’s Criminal! 48 Days Later Mitrice Richardson is Still Missing
Something Just Ain’t Right—Family Calls for a Federal Investigation into their Daughter’s Disappearance and the Refusal of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to Produce Videotapes
It’s been nearly two months since Mitrice Richardson disappeared from the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department after being released shortly after midnight for being arrested and booked on suspicion of failing to pay for her meal at Geoffrey’s Malibu and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. That night her receipt showed that she had one drink and one meal totaling $89.51. A receipt that indicated a party two. Witnesses said Richardson behaved strangely that night, telling people she was from Mars leading her family and friends to believe that she suffered some sort of mental breakdown possibly caused from her bi-polar condition.
Geoffrey’s Malibu Receipt (Click to Enlarge)
By all accounts, Mitrice Richardson was doing the right thing. A Cal State Fullerton graduate who studied psychiatry, Mitrice had planned on taking her education to the lesbian and gay community because she felt that there weren’t enough qualified and sensitive psychiatrists that catered to people who were gay. She lived with her great-grandmother on East 118th Street in Watts and was getting ready to start work as a teacher.
While there have been reported sighting of Mitrice in South L.A. near Denker and Manchester and in Canoga Park, none of the leads have panned out, she is still missing, and 50 days later, there are no answers, only mounting frustration as a father continues to search his only daughter.
42 year-old Michael Richardson has exhausted himself trying to dig for answers and clues to no avail. A father who works two full time jobs totaling 80 plus per week, Mr. Richardson says that he has missed countless days from work in search of his daughter.
“You have to do what you have to do,” Mr. Richardson explains while sitting in the conference room of the Los Angeles Sentinel. “I’ve been to Skid Row, I’ve been to Figueroa, I’ve been on Santa Monica Boulevard. I’ve reached out to the ladies of the night and their bosses in search of my daughter.”
To date, according to Richardson, Mitrice’s case has been handed off from the Sheriff’s Department to the LAPD. No one from the LAPD has been in touch with him in recent weeks except to say that were going to come by to get his DNA “just in case.”
The Sheriff’s Department continues to refuse to answer calls for the videotapes showing Mitrice entering and leaving the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff’s station.
Malibu Mayor Andy Stern turned over to the sheriff voicemails left by the distraught father that reportedly threaten to tie up his phone lines and picket his office with Black people because Malibu has supposedly not done enough to prod the sheriff’s office, the Malibu Surfside News reported.
“I called the Mayor to ask him for help in finding my daughter and he told me that he didn’t have time to speak with me about it, that he was late for a meeting,” explained Mr. Richardson. “I’m no dummy. I do my research on politicians. I discovered that the Mayor’s daytime job was as a real estate agent so I called his business line claiming to be a football player looking to buy one of properties valued at $5.5 million. He not only had time to talk to me but was willing to cancel the very same meeting that he rushed me off the phone for earlier in order to meet with me.”
Michael Richardson said he just wanted to hold a rally in Malibu with the support of several of the local biker clubs of which he belonged to but was told by the Mayor that if there were more than ten people riding motorcycles that’s considered a parade and that he would need to pay for a permit as well as pay to reserve parking. The Mayor was unwilling to waive the fees and Mr. Richardson say that he couldn’t afford the city’s fee.
“If all of the policies and procedures that the Mayor sited to me had been followed to the letter of law as it related to my daughter, she wouldn’t be missing.”
After news broke about the Mayor’s unwillingness to help the Richardson’s and his not wanting a “busload of Black people on the steps of City Hall in Malibu,” he quickly expedited an additional $15,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Mitrice Richardon. Coupled with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ $10,000 reward, that brings the total reward amount to $25,000.
The rally and biker caravan that was supposed to take place in Malibu was limited to the last area that Mitrice was reportedly seen, 87th Street and Western Avenue. Last Sunday, friends and family members canvassed the neighborhood with flyers and passerbyers asking for help in finding Mitrice.
“What’s happening to me and my family is criminal,” Mr. Richard continues. “From the altered police report that was whited out and took me 2 ½ weeks to get when according to the sheriff’s own website, reports are available in 24 hours—to the fact that the LAPD detectives assigned to my daughters case haven’t even been in contact with me and the sheriff’s constant refusal to produce any videotape showing my daughter entering and exiting that sheriff’s station.”
Police Reports (Click to enlarge)
On Monday evening, Michael Richardson and Tessa Moon, Mitrice’s girlfriend of 2 years held a press conference at the Jewel’s Catch One nightclub asking for help from L.A.’ LGBT community.
“Mitrice was openly gay and wanted to be a community activist for the gay community,” explains 25-year-old Tessa Moon, also a Cal State Fullerton graduate. “At this point we are leaving no stones unturned in trying to find Mitrice. It’s going to take all of us.”
Next steps the father says are to call for a Federal Investigation and the refusal of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to produce videotapes. Geoffrey’s Malibu told ABC7 Eyewitness News on Monday that they turned their videotapes into the sheriff’s, this after repeated attempts from Mr. Richardson to get view and get a copy of the same tapes.
“My daughter never should have been let go into the middle of the night in that area alone with no money, no car, and no cell phone. That was a criminal and negligent act by the sheriff’s.”
Sheriff Lee Baca has yet to meet with the Richardson’s regarding their daughters disappearance and the role the sheriff’s played in it.
The family also expects to meet with Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, the Mayor’s pick to replace former LAPD Police Chief William J. Bratton. Mr. Richardson says that he will be looking to the new Police Chief for quick action and leadership in helping to find his daughter.
“While I congratulate the new Police Chief, in my opinion, this is not the time for celebrating. It’s time to get down to business and I am looking forward to meeting with the new Police Chief about finding my daughter.”
The family is also making pleas for the local Black churches to print the flyer with Mitrice’s information on it in their Sunday church bulletins to help spread the word in hopes of finding their daughter.
“We’ve gotten more support and help from the community regarding my daughter’s disappearance than law enforcement. If we can just get all of us to be on the look out for Mitrice, I know we can find her.”