WTF Regarding the Missing Black Woman in Malibu



LOS ANGELES — The parents of a 24 year old woman missing since Thursday said Saturday that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies released her from the Agoura Hills sheriff’s station while she was drunk in the middle of the night.

According to the parents, witnesses said Mitrice Richardson was drunk an unable to pay her bill at a Geoffrey’s in Malibu at about 10 p.m. Thursday. Richardson was taken into custody by deputies from the Malibu Lost Hills sheriff’s station.

Deputies took Richardson through the canyon to the nearest sheriff’s station, where they filed charges against her for not paying for the meal and took a booking photo. Richardson was released about midnight Friday, according to her parents.

Richardson’s mother, Latice Sutton, said she called the Malibu-Lost Hills station about that time to ask about posting bail picking up her daughter, but deputies told her she had been released because they didn’t have the capacity to keep her.

Sutton also said her daughter was described as in “no condition to drive” by a manager she spoke to at Geoffrey’s, on Pacific Coast Highway. He also told the parents that deputies found marijuana in Richardson’s purse.

Richardson hasn’t contacted her family or been seen by them since Wednesday.

Richardson’s father, Michael Richardson, said deputies gave him his daughter’s booking photo, and her appearance made him very worried about her mental state.

Sutton said deputies told her nearby residents had called in to say a woman was sleeping on porches, indicating to her that Richardson was stumbling around a nearby residential neighborhood in the early-morning hours Friday.

Sheriff’s deputies at Malibu-Lost Hills, the sheriff’s headquarters bureau, and sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore all said they were not familiar with the charges and were unable to comment.

Richardson is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and recently moved to Los Angeles to live with her grandmother near the area where she planned on teaching.

Richardson is black, 5 feet-5 inches tall, and weighs about 135 pounds. She has brown, curly hair and hazel eyes, and was last seen wearing a dark shirt and blue jeans, police said. According to a flyer made by the family, Richardson has tattoos on her lower abdomen and behind her neck.

Police asked anyone with information on her whereabouts to call Det. Kristin Merrill at the LAPD’s Missing Persons Unit at (213) 485-5381, or 1-877-LAPD-24-7 after business hours or on weekends.

I have been hearing about this story all weekend and it really bothers me for several reasons.

One, I just can’t believe that the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies just let her go, drunk, in the middle of the night.  I mean what the fuck is up with that?  Since when do the police just let you go off into the night drunk.  Look–I watch COPS–yes I watch COPS, JAIL too, and have seen how they put people in these drunk tanks until they sober up.  Simply put, I am not buying it.  Then, I am listening to KFI 640 and there’s a news report about how the dad thinks his daughter may have been “drugged by one of her girlfriends who likes to drug her girlfriends,” his words, not mine.  WTF is that all about?  And then lastly, because it must be said, the woman is Black, and I am wondering if race played a role at all in any of this.  I really question race after reading some of the comments left by Los Angeles Times readers rarding this story.

I spoke with a friend who said under any other circumstances we’d be happy, meaning we as Black people, if the police let us go after not paying our bill at a restaurant, finding weed in our purse, and being intoxicated in public.  It made stop for a minute and I guess he’s right  in a way.  But I think that all changes when the police let you go and you just disappear.  You might have been better off in a drunk tank or jail than alone in the middle of night fucked up.

I know one thing, the sheriff’s better have the paperwork to back up that charge of being over capacity and having to let Richardson go.

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From one sista to another, I hope you’re just embarassed and chillin’ somewhere and haven’t suffered a fate much worse.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • That station is in the middle of nowhere. There are no busses, that’s horrible. You’re a black woman in that section of town anything can happen to you out there. Anything could happen to anyone. I hope she is ok, but I don’t have a good feeling about this.

  • Wonderlove

    And no national media outlet reported this story! This is tragic! I’m praying for the best. OMG! The sheriff’s office needs to pay for this shit! WTF indeed!

  • Stephanie

    Where is Nancy Grace on this story?

  • JRgirl

    Whatever happened to personal individual responsibility? If the Sheriffs dept. kept her too long then people are ready to riot and scream that’s unfair and oppressive for a minor offense and it’s because she’s black of not paying a small bill. If they booked her early in the evening, she would be sobered up or drug she was under the influence of wore off. They asked if she wanted to stay. She declined, she’s in charge and an educated adult. Why didn’t she call someone at the Sheriff’s office, or call her ride collect? Over 18, then you are responsible to take care of yourself. This is nobody’s fault but her own, and it’s unfortunate. There is great media coverage on this, just google it. Many talk radio shows devoted airtime to cover this event.

  • kimykali

    I have to disagree with JRgirl. I am on the internet, listen to radio every day, and have not heard this story until now. Also, the Sheriffs dept. is responsible for your safety as they have had you in their custody and have taken you from the place where your ride was. They should allow you a phone call and are morally obligated in making sure you have someone to pick you up when you are female and it’s in the middle of the night! I understand the theory of “she’s 18” but those Sheriffs knew she was not using her full mental faculties otherwise they wouldn’t have arrested her in the first place, and she was transported away from her area of familiarity. It’s just common sense. The family should sue the hell out of anyone directly involved in her release from custody. (Also I am in law enforcement, not as a county sheriff/city police officer, but I do have to take persons into my custody and am obligated to keep them safe while in my custody, and ensure they arrive at their intended destination as best as possible after being released from my custody.) Thanks Jas for being the missing voice in the media!

  • keith

    Every police station has camera’s… check that first !
    make sure they show you what’s going on around that building, we cover our building 24/7!!!

    Secondly, we are able to run any and all cell numbers if requested by law !!! it can be done… we are able to get a record of all calls coming in and going out !!!

    Third, did anyone check with all the hospitals in the area…
    did anyone check with the jails… maybe she had a warrant or someone else used her name and a warrant came up ?

    Has anyone checked with all of her friends ?

    Has anyone checked with her boyfriend ?
    old boyfriend and current…

    request a copy of the report that was written on her that nite !!!

    get her vehicle out of the impound and have her lawyer check for foul play with a special unit…

    give out a contact number where someone can reach the family or her attorney… there is no way of contacting the family, I called this morning and no answer with the missing persons unit…
    24/7 !!!! hello !!!

    thats all I have for now… I will stay online for a while if anyone has any questions…


  • Sabrina

    You really shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions about race. Malibu, CA is not the Deep South. I’ve been there on vacation a number of times and as a Black woman in my late 40s, I’ve never had a problem. Yes, that area is in a fairly remote section of the city, but I know for a fact that taxis also go out there too. She could’ve called a cab, if she was truly in no in a position to drive. I agree with JRgirl…what about personal responsibility here?

  • Tracy

    First off she broke the law, then she was asked if she WANTED to stay the night and leave in the morning…DUH…she said NO. She is an adult. She also was in a very nice area, not South Central. She probably got picked up by a friend, smoked some more pot and drank some more alcohol. Now she is afraid to come home or call her parents. I hope she is found safe.

  • Tracy

    She also was a college grad so I assume an educated woman. Go ahead and blame the Sherrifs department. They documented she was NOT intoxicated or mentally ill. She has no history of mental illness. So who’s fault is this. HERS and hers alone. I also bet that mom is lying about the Sherrifs saying they let her go because they had no room. That area does NOT have an abundance of criminals in their jail. They let her sober up and then let her go. I agree with the other poster who said Blacks would be complaining if they KEPT her in jail too long. Now they complain when they let an adult out of jail. You can NEVER make them happy. Why even try anymore. I’m not. Maybe her parents should have raised her better. Smoking pot, being intoxicated in public, and STEALING from the Restuarant. Great parenting skills I must say.

  • Colleen

    Some of you are not getting the correct information and you are just mouthing off and being very judgmental. It was stated that the management at the restuarant said she appeared sober but there was clearly something wrong with her. Also it was stated that she did have mental issues, manic depression, Dr. Hampton worked at Cal State Fullerton where Mitrice received a B.A. in Psychology and stipulated that she seem to have Bipolar and she told her that she would eventually need to get on medication.

    Go under

    Get the facts first and then judge as though you perfect!

  • T

    First I’d like to say I hope that the young lady is ok. Yes, she is responsible for her behavior. Since we are all human, we make mistakes and hopefully it doesn’t cause our demise or destruction. Everyone acts like she is a mass murder and deservers to be missing. To start to judge her with out all the information is not fair. Her credit card might not just have worked it, once it happened me. According to released information she called her 90-year-old grandmother from the restaurant and she agreed to pay the bill on her credit card by phone. The restaurant refused to take the payment without her signature and preferred to have her arrested.

    Why, was her car searched when she did not leave the restaurant in it? Some things don’t add up from the police. If the restaurant reports that she is to drunk too drive how could she be sober in two hours? Then when reports of a women sleeping on porches were made, why didn’t they investigate? This might not have anything to do with color of her skin just lazy police. The bulk of the responsibility falls on the police because they had custody of her before her disappearance. If she were your daughter or sister you’d have the same reaction.

    I didn’t hear a thing about this on the national news, and the truth is if she was Caucasian and in another country I would have heard about it. As to the poster in reference to Blacks never being happy. When minorities are treated equal to non-minorities by the police “they” are quite happy.

    I hope she is found safe, and people’s rush to judgment doesn’t influence her return.

  • Gina W.

    I agree with the fact that she is a grown women and made the choice of leaving on her own, but the Sheriff’s Department was suppose to have the last say in wether or not she should leave. How would they react or even those who think that she was too grown for an escort home react if it were your relative in a situation such as this? I just want to know where was the protetion?

    My heart goes out to the family and I hope that she is well.

  • Gina W.

    I don’t agree with Tracy in her comment that suggest that the Richardson’s didn’t have good parenting skills. If you have children of you own, you raise them to the very best of your abilities and you hope that when they become adults they continue to make the right choices in life. Unfortunately we can’t hold their hands their whole life just to ensure that they make good decisions.

    Whether it’s South Central or “upscale Malibu”, drugs are everywhere. It’s not just one race that uses them. Maybe, some just have a classier way of doing it and that’s what makes the difference in some peoples eyes. I just think for someone to predict a negative doing by someone they don’t even know is ridiculous and insane.

    For the record, I don’t believe that “Blacks” would complain if an act of wrong doing was commited and she was arrested for it. We’re complaining because, she was let go in the middle of nowhere.

  • Nicole

    Randy Quaid, wife post bail in hotel burglary case
    They’re accused of skipping out on Calif. bill
    By MATT CURRY Associated Press

    DALLAS — Actor Randy Quaid and his wife were released from a West Texas jail late Thursday after their arrest for allegedly skipping out on a $10,000 California hotel bill. The pair posted bail after the sheriff provided a ride to a bank.

    Quaid and his wife, Evi, each posted $20,000 after spending several hours in the jail in Marfa, Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez told The Associated Press.

    Dominguez said he drove the actor to a bank to obtain the bail money. Quaid remained in his custody during the trip but was not handcuffed. The sheriff said the actor received no special treatment.


    Do tell me she was treated no differently! That is BULL! Where is the video of her leaving the police station? Has anyone researched the numbers that she allegedly called? I doubt she wouldve left the station in the dark without her ride being there.

    Malibu is pitch black dark during the night. You cannot get far without a flashlight, even if your car were to break down. You would be blinded by the darkness and in a really crappy situation. I carry two flashlights just incase….

  • Lyla

    The police should’ve never released her without funds and making sure she at least took a taxi home. She was in an unfamiliar area, in an impaired state, for which reason she was taken in. And they just let her go with no money, no ID, no nothing in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. The taxpayers of Agoura are going to have to cough up big bucks on this one. Someone probably took advantage of her thinking she was “just a homeless.”

  • Camille

    I’ve been reading all the responses. I agree and disagree with some key point stated here. this story was NOT widely spread how it should have been. the ONLY reason I even know about it today is because Mitrice is a person friend of someone I am very close with. although I have never met her I know of her. there are lot of things that are not being said here. yes she is grown but there are reports from the police station that she did not have an id on her… leads me to believe maybe her purse or wallet was stolen. the marijuana was apparently in her purse not her car and that’s why it may have been searched. given the location of the police station and the distance from where she was picked up, not to mention how secluded the police station is… she SHOULD have been given as escort, if not home, then at least to the impound lot. or at least a cab should have been called for her. intoxicated or not, it’s common sense, don’t just take a person from where you found then and then leave then in the middle of no where. also stop talking about her family and parents, you all know you have done some things that are questionable. so what, get over it. regardless of what happened and why SHE IS MISSING, that is what needs to be emphasized, my God. stupid little girls shouldn’t be playing in ally ways where they can be abducted but because it’s right next to their house, they do… stop the judgment and look at what’s going on here. there is no body, she must still be out there, and she deserves to be found. the sheriff’s department does have mixed stories and I think they should put in the extra effort to be finding her because they should at least take some responsibility in the situation. things could have been done different and maybe she’d be safe at home right now. this is ridiculous. I am personally following this story and I still have yet to see or hear anything on the news or radio, I had to SEARCH the internet to find info on what’s going on. This story is not out there at all. this is truly sad and I really hope she makes it home unharmed. my deepest sympathy goes out to her family and friends that are praying and waiting on her to return safe. I almost want to go to Malibu and find her myself, that’s how little I think the police are doing when it comes to finding Mitrice. truly ridiculous.

  • Myword

    There’s no way they let her go. I think a real investigation needs to take place, with signed statements of anybody who claims they saw her leave the police station and furthermore investigations on anybody who claimed they saw her on a porch in a nearby home. Did anybody really see her out there? I beg to differ. Any cameras in or around the police station that coul dprove she really walked out of there?

  • Myword

    Where is a video showing her leaving the police station? Where is the record of confirmed phone calls she supposedly made? Where are recorded calls made by residents about her citings? If they do exist, who’s friend/family was covering and for whom? Too many questions unanswered. The FBI, CIA, some damnbody should investigate the police department.

  • cheryl

    I live in malibu and know the area well. I blame the resturant and lost hills station. They should of taken the credit card by phone. There was no kindness from any-one, shame on them.

  • J L Chandler

    I agree w/kimykal. I heard the story about three days ago on HLN, very briefly, during the Robin Mead hour. Just before it went to break, the story got about 10 seconds and viewers were told that more details were forthcoming when they returned. Problem is they went to a COMCAST break, returned, and never went back to the story. I waited for over an hour to see if it would loop back to the story, but never did – the other stories prior to it did loop back within that hour. As for personal responsibility, we have been spoon-fed, day-after-day, night=after-night, information about Natalie Holloway (drunk, and I don’t care that she was only 18 yrs. old), and about every #$@# white, blue-eyed blond female and the Le girl until I am sick and tired of listening to and watching the news; let Geraldo tell, if it’s aint black, it’s beautiful. I am from Birmingham and, at the time Natalie Holloway went missing, a black female who was employed at one of the local hospitals and an assistant pricipal from one of the black schools was also missing. It wasn’t until the blacks demanded some attention be brought to the forefront on these two missing individuals, did it get more attention. Still it wasn’t as much as Holloway. Further, after the missing assit. principal (black male) was found, just feet away from where he was last seen/went missing – go figure) the billboard that had him on it stayed up for almost a year, if not longer. Tell me about insisitivity to his family.

    Even a fool knows that after so many drinks, or if someone has been drugged, their decision making abilities tend to become impaired. So, if it is okay to hear about every freaking white woman, drunk or not, then dog-gone-it, let me hear about any black female who has gone missing in a suspscious fashion.

    As for security cameras, let’s be real, if something happened to her as a result of them releasing her in her state of mind, if they or someone at or around the station did something to her, what’s the chance they tampered wit the video.

    Now we have to hear about a custody case that’s bi-contenient much the same as we did about Elian Gonzales. WTF and who cares if a mom took her kids to Japan and the father wants them back. I guess because the father is white, male, and wasn’t drunk, it’s news worthy. I haven’t seen anything more on the missing black woman on HLN, CNN or FOX ( no surprise there).



  • AL


  • Leigh

    It is another unfortunate situation. Yes, Mitrice is an adult but being an adult doesn’t mean that we always have wise judgement. The police station is assigned a task to also protect citizens regardless of age. More importantly, the alleged inconsistencies in their statements are what is extremely disturbing, beyond her disappearance because the wavering of the authorities’ stories send a message of untruthfulness which typically does not result in a positive outcome for anyone involved.

  • Kay Child

    What I wanna know is it is now Feb.08 and this story has seemed to have been dropped from the radar. Why? the news channels are still talking about that little missing Haley in Florida. Is this you lady less important? what the heck!!! This one is the law enforcement fault and my guess is that is why it is being hushed. I think it is a shame and I pray more people start talking and make force this back into the spotlight!

  • Sandra Crowe

    It is now March 2010 and nothing has been heard of this girl. Is anyone investigating this? There is only one reason for this. She was NOT a blonde, bleached or otherwise. The bias in this country is so blatant, it is amazing. This is the 21st Century. What the hell must this place have been in the 19th century.

  • R

    Prayers for the Mitrice Richardson and Family. My question is why would the police arrest you, book you and then let you go. Something is definitely not right. I thing that not only should the cameras at the police station be checked but all other cameras on the streets as well if they exist. Is there a satelite?

  • Rj

    I think her family should have been called to pick her up. I think public intoxication is not a job for the police of ambulance. The place that served her all those drinks shoulod be the place to call her transportation in the event she becomes intoxed. In NYC the police will not let you go anywhere of you are intoxed, they simple call EMS.

  • Deardj

    I sincerely believe the deputies at the substation released her, then followed and assaulted and murdered her. Because marijuana was found in her car by them, they impounded her car. Then, they took her and dumped her like a piece of trash near a marijuana field? Come, now. Common sense tells anyone what has occurred here. No one in their right mind will allow a woman to leave anywhere in the middle of nowhere like that. Malibu is nothing but a stretch of water for miles long. And, the area where she was apparently taken to the substation is described as very remote. Whomever is guilty of this crime need to never be able to sleep at night nor function during the day until they turn themselves in for what they have done!