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  • Writer's pictureSarah Turney

The Mysterious Death of Mitrice Richardson

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In the summer of 2009, 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson was living in Los Angeles, California. She had recently graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in psychology and was searching for the perfect doctorate program to continue her studies and pursue her dream of becoming a psychologist.

On the night of September 16, she went to a restaurant in Malibu, where she began exhibiting some strange behavior. While some people thought maybe Mitrice was drunk or on some type of drug it became apparent that she was actually struggling with her mental health.

Mitrice didn’t pay her bill, but the workers weren’t really concerned about that. They even discussed pulling their money together to help her. They were more concerned that she was obviously going through some type of crisis. So, they called the police, who then made the call that she did not need to be evaluated by a mental health professional. She was instead arrested and taken to jail. Her car was impounded, along with her cell phone and wallet.

A few hours later, at 12:38 a.m., Mitrice was released without any of her belongings, no money, no phone, and no car.

Almost a year later, in August 2010, Mitrice’s remains were located. Since then, the cause of her death has become a major topic of debate for her loved ones, the city, and across true crime. Almost immediately, investigators said no foul play was involved in Mitrice’s death.

But her loved ones and even certain members of law enforcement have voiced their concerns that the evidence suggests otherwise.

Mitrice’s mentor, Dr. Ronda Hampton, joins us this week to discuss the case in a very candid interview.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 486-6900.

The Mysterious Death of Mitrice Richardson Voices for Justice Podcast


3. N/A. “Vehicle Report”. Department of California Highway Patrol.

4. N/A. “Supplemental Report.” County of Los Angeles - Sheriff’s Department.

5. N/A. “Press Release.” Find Mitrice.

6. Kessler, Mike. “What Happened to Mitrice Richardson?” LA Magazine. September 1, 2011.

9. Baca, Leroy. “Circumstances Related to Ms. Mitrice Richardson’s Release From Custody.” County of Los Angeles. November 6, 2009.

11. Woods, CeCe. “Data Dump in Mitrice Richardson Case with Hopes in Getting the Public’s Help Solving the 13 Year Old Cold Case.” The Local Malibu.

12. Steepleton, Scott. “Reward Increase for Mitrice.” The Acorn. March 25, 2022.

13. Staff. “Skeletal Remains Identified as Those of Missing South Hills High School Graduate.” City News Service. August 12, 2010. ​​

14. Hall, Carla. “Friends and Relatives Remember Mitrice Richardson.” Los Angeles Times. ​​August 21, 2010.

15. Faturechi, Robert. “Coroner’s Official Criticizes Sheriff’s Department for Moving Mitrice Richardson’s Remains.” Los Angeles Times. November 7, 2010.

16. N/A. “More of Mitrice Richardson’s Remains Found.” CBS. February 13, 2011.

18. Friedman, Jonathan. “Mitrice Richardson’s Mother Wants Daughter’s Remains Further Examined.” Patch. December 20, 2010.

19. Staff. “Mother of Missing Woman Sues L.A. Authorities for Wrongful Death.” CNN. June 30, 2010.

20. Hall, Carla. “Mitrice Richardson’s Family Complains About Search’s Slow Pace.” Los Angeles Times. March 16, 2010.

21. Faturechi, Robert. “County to Open Inquiry into Handling of Mitrice Richardson’s Skeleton.” Los Angeles Times. November 9, 2010.

22. Martinez, Michael. “California Mom: Exhume Daughter’s Body.” CNN. December 23, 2010.

23. N/A. “Mitrice Richardson’s Mother Files Second Lawsuit Against LA County.” CBS. May 25, 2011.

24. N/A. “Remains of Mitrice Richardson Exhumed for Investigation.” CBS/AP. July 13, 2011.

25. Winton, Richard. “New Reward Offered as Mystery and Outrage Over Mitrice Richardson’s Death Endures.” Los Angeles Times. March 17, 2022.

26. Marantos, Jeanette. “Hopes For a New Investigation Into Mitrice Richardson Case End in Disappointment.” Los Angeles Times. September 17, 2019.

27. Hall, Carla. “Family Seeks to Exhume Mitrice Richardson’s Remains.” Los Angeles Times. December 21, 2010.

28. Staff. “Coroner’s Officials Examining Remains Found in Malibu County.” CNN. August 11, 2010.

29. Faturechi, Robert. “Mitrice Richardson’s Parents, Sheriff Reach Tentative Agreement.” Los Angeles Times. August 24, 2011.

30. Staff. “AG Harris Launches Criminal Investigation into Sheriff’s Department for Mitrice Richardson Case.” Los Angeles Sentinel. March 9, 2016.

31. Hamilton, Matt. “Attorney General’s Probe Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by Deputies in Death of Mitrice Richardson.” Los Angeles Times. February 3, 2017.

32. Koff, Clea. “Confidential Report.” Missing Persons Identification Resource Center. September 9, 2010.

33. Richardson, Michael. “Statement”. Bring Mitrice Home. November 9, 2009.

34. N/A. “OIR Report.” Los Angeles County - Office of Independent Review. July 9, 2010.

36. Ortiz, Aimee. “Former L.A. County Sheriff is Ordered to Prison for Obstruction of Justice.” New York Times. January 16, 2020.

37. Hamilton, Matt. “Attorney General’s Probe Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by Deputies in Death of Mitrice Richardson.” Los Angeles Times. February 3, 2017.

38. Bravo, Samantha. “Mitrice Richardson Case Re-established 12 Years Later.” The Malibu Times. February 9, 2022.


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