Patrons at Geoffrey’s, a trendy Malibu, Calif., restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean, were among the last few people to see Mitrice Richardson alive. After she went missing in the Malibu hills, those who remembered seeing her eating at Geoffrey’s alone said she “behaved strangely.” Richardson left the restaurant without paying the bill and was subsequently arrested and taken to the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff’s station.

Authorities seized her car that night and released Richardson with no purse or cellphone in the dark, early morning hours of Sept. 17, 2009. It was the last time anyone saw the 24-year-old alive.

Richardson’s story made national headlines when her family launched a nationwide search for her. When after several months there was no verifiable sighting of Richardson, her family began to fear the worst. Richardson’s mother, Latice Sutton, questioned how authorities could have released a young woman alone in a wilderness area with no transportation and no means of communication.

Rumors that Richardson had been sighted in Las Vegas were quelled, when the young woman’s nude, partially mummified body was discovered in a nearby canyon in August 2010.

Family members think Richardson may have been having some kind of mental health crisis the night she was arrested, which her mother believes should have led authorities to be concerned for her safety. Sutton sued Los Angeles County for negligence and wrongful death.

On Aug. 23,the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a settlement in the case. If all parties sign off on the agreement, the county will pay Mitrice’s parents, Latice Sutton and Michael Richardson, $450,000 each.

  • MsMobetter

    Even though no amount of money could replace their daughter, $900,000 for the crime is a slap in the face.  What is the reason they released her and kept her money, cell phone, car and ID? Sounds like the police department was grossly negligent and should not only pay more but be investigated to the fullest extent.

  • Hadassah

    This is a shame.  It saddens me how this so called law enforcement who is there to help has selective memory for those that don’t look like them.  This poor young woman was having a break down and they did not care.  It saddens me that they let this woman out with no help from and put her out on the street like this.  No amount of mney is good for this tragedy and the police in my opinion got off.  But I do know the most high YAH sees these things and each and everyone will be dealt accordingly.

  • Anonymous

    The whole situation is very suspicious.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in law enforcement was involved. L.A. PD has a reputation for dirty, rogue cops.  She was a beautiful never know.  The officers on duty that night that actually “released” her from jail should be investigated (although it’s a little late) and officially reprimanded if not terminated. 

  • Kurt Morgan

    First, the Malibu sheriff’s station is hardly “in the wilderness”.  It’s less than 500 feet from the 101, one of the most heavily traveled highways in California.  Next, the young woman was not kicked out of the station…in fact they offered to allow her to stay the night and she refused….after she skipped on a restaurant bill and drugs where found in her car.  Lastly, the police didn’t take her cellphone, she didn’t have one to take but she was allowed to use the phone at the station.  She again refused.  She was an adult who made her own choices.  Her death is tragic but it is not the fault of the sheriff’s department.  My goodness folks, how about a little personal responsibility here?! 

    • James Ruderson Jr.

      Is you a dam fool. No one is dum if she was heid in the station they should of keep her in the police station. You must be one of the police officer you work their. You seem to know a lot.
      You killer.