25 year-old Tessa Moon of San Francisco, the girlfriend of Mitrice Richardson, will make a plea to the Los Angeles area LGBT community on Monday, November 2, 2009 for help in finding her girlfriend of two years who recently went missing.
Members of the LGBT community are asked to attend a special community meeting Monday, November 2 at 6 p.m. in the community room of Jewels Catch One located at 4067 Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90019. Along with Tessa, Mitrice’s father and other family members and friends will be on hand with flyers and information on Mitrice’s last whereabouts.
A Cal State Fullerton graduate who was living with her great-grandmother in South Los Angeles, Mitrice Richardson 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. In addition, to her studies and career, Mitrice was also one of the dancers at the Long Beach club Ripples.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to her safe return.
Community meeting in support of finding Mitrice Richardson
Tessa Moon, girlfriend of Mitrice Richardson, family, friends, community members
Monday, November 2, 2009
Jewels Catch One
4067 Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019
STILL SEARCHING — Mitrice Richardson has been missing since leaving a Malibu-area sheriff’s station Sept. 17. Her family continues to search for her and for answers from police officials as to why they allowed Richardson to leave in the early morning. Pictured (left to right): Tessa Moon, Michael Richardson, Matrice Richardson’s father, and members of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club, who will participate in a rally and do outreach on behalf of Mitrice Richardson on Nov. 1.
L.A. Watts Times
Pat Hendricks Munson, contributing Writer
Bikers, family and friends plan to rally and do outreach in Malibu Nov. 1 for Mitrice Richardson, the 24-year-old South Los Angeles woman who still can’t be found more than a month after leaving a police station in the early morning without a purse, car or cell phone.
In an effort to keep Richardson’s face in the public and the search alive, hundreds of bikers and others are expected to first show up at a rally, led by the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club of South Los Angeles, and then pass out flyers. The rally will begin at 10 a.m.
Some people have claimed they saw Richardson in Los Angeles, including at Manchester and Denker avenues, according to news reports.
Richardson was arrested at Geoffrey’s Malibu restaurant Sept. 16 after dining with strangers, acting in what some said was a bizarre manner, and then not having money to pay her $89 bill.
She passed a field sobriety test before being taken to the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Malibu/ Lost Hills station in Agoura. After processing, she was released about 1 a.m. Sept. 17 and has been missing since then.
Since Richardson is a Los Angeles resident, everything sheriff’s officials had for the case has been given to the Los Angeles Police Department Robbery and Homicide Division, including a request for phone records, sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
LAPD Detective Steven Eguchi said the incident is still a missing person’s case “until something else points us in another direction.”
“There have been many searches so far,” he said, adding, “So far there is no evidence of foul play, and we just want to let people know she’s still out there and we’re looking for her.”
The father of Mitrice Richardson, Michael Richardson, said he is getting assistance from community members who have helped in searches from Malibu to South L.A. including homeless shelters, Skid Row, hospitals and other areas. For now, Michael Richardson is intent on keeping his daughter’s name in public view, as he holds out hope for her safe return.
Michael Richardson expressed confusion as to why his daughter was released into the dark, in a rural area alone.
“They had a responsibility and civic duty to protect her,” Michael Richardson said. “If she was acting bizarre and talking out of h
er head at the restaurant, why didn’t the sheriff’s (deputies) put her on a 24-hour or 72-hour hold and have her evaluated before letting her go out alone at that time of morning in such an isolated and remote area?”
Michael Richardson also claims the arrest report was altered and that deputies’ stories have changed several times. He has also requested copies of the Malibu-Lost Hills station phone records to determine who his daughter reportedly called from there. He has also teamed with Change.org to circulate a petition that calls for a federal investigation.
Whitmore said it is believed that Mitrice Richardson called her grandmother because her conversations were overheard, and the department is trying to get the phone records, but it takes time.
“There is no conspiracy here. We are very concerned about this young lady,” Whitmore said. “I understand deeply her parents’ concerns. Everything that can be done was done and is being done.”
Whitmore added that there were no changes or alterations to the original arrest report.
“We don’t do that. It’s not about us,” he said. “It’s about this young woman and finding her.”
Michael Richardson also claims his daughter did not receive an evaluation before being released. Whitmore said she was “evaluated extensively” by the three deputies called to the restaurant. According to Whitmore, the deputies spent a total of three to four hours with Mitrice Richardson from their first encounter at the restaurant.
She was given a field sobriety test, which included eye movement, pulse check, and questions to determine whether she was intoxicated or suffering from mental health issues.
While at the sheriff’s station, Mitrice Richardson talked at length to a female jailer about music and other subjects. According to Whitmore, the jailer and other deputies witnessed no signs of intoxication or mental health issues. Therefore, they had no authority to hold her.
Despite the early morning-hour, chilly weather outside and lack of money or transportation, Mitrice Richardson insisted on leaving, Whitmore said. And that was the last time they saw her, he said.
Mitrice Richardson’s car was impounded, according to news reports.
Jeff Peterson, owner of Geoffrey’s restaurant, said calling the police on Mitrice Richardson wasn’t so much about money as it was concern for her safety. With the way she was acting and talking that night, Peterson advised his staff to call police for fear of her driving in that condition.
“She was very sweet, friendly and harmless. She was reading guests’ palms and talking about being from Mars,” Peterson said. “We grew concerned about her safety and we made a decision because we didn’t want to give her her car keys.”
Peterson added that as a human being and as a businessman, if he just let her go and something happened to her, he would be vilified.
“I have a responsibility to my customers,” he said, adding, “I just hope she’s safe somewhere.”
Mitrice Richardson never displayed any prior signs of mental illness, Michael Richardson said, adding she “doesn’t know what’s going on” because of the condition she could be in.
A couple of days before her disappearance, she was sending strange text messages and posting bizarre comments on Facebook, Michael Richardson said.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information on Mitrice Richardson’s whereabouts. Anyone with information about where she is can call Michael Richardson at (310) 283-4717 or the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 485-2155.