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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Missing Mitrece

By A.J. Llewellyn

On September 16, Mitrece Richardson, a 24 year old college grad went to dinner at Geoffrey's restaurant in Malibu. By all accounts, she seemed...high on drugs, perhaps even drunk. She inserted herself into a couple of conversations and made inappropriate remarks, but for the most part people just thought she was kooky.
The restaurant manager thought she was a little more than that when she couldn't pay her hefty $89 tab. Mitrice asked him to call her grandma who swiftly offered to pay her bill but the restaurant refused to take the card over the phone without a signature. The elderly lady had no fax machine to send them her signature and called her daughter, Mitrece's mom...but by then, Mitrece was in jail.
She was released in the middle of the night - 12.25 a.m. - a long, long way from home, at the desolate Lost Hills Sheriff's station. I drove to the station last night in preparation of this blog and let me tell you, it's dark and frightening. There are few street lights and very few places to go for help. Lost Hills is aptly named. It is mountain country...scary critter country...perhaps even, scary people country.
Apart from a brief sighting outside somebody's home, Mitrece has not been since since September 16.
This story has haunted me, not just because of the grim events, which spiraled out of control into one gruesome mess, but because frankly of the lack of coverage.
I am a secret Nancy Grace junkie. Nancy loves missing women but she has not addressed thie disappearance of Mitrece Richardson. A few local LA newspapers and TV stations kept up coverage up to about a week ago.
The last thing I read was on September 30, when Mitrece's heart-broken dad offered an astonishing reward, his 1966 Chevy Impala, worth $20,000 to whomever can find and deliver him his missing daughter.
The LA County Board of Supervisors has also approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to Mitrece's recovery...but could all of this been avoided?
There's no question she should have paid her bill.
There has been information coming in parts and pieces that Mitrece is bipolar and exhibited signs of mental instability by telling the valet driver at Geoffrey's that she was from Mars.
I don't understand how the police released an attractive young woman in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere with no money, no keys, no car, no phone and no transportation, and I am trying not to think her poor handling by the sheriff's station is because she is black.
I do think the lack of news coverage has everything to do with her skin color. Sorry, but I do. If she were a pretty blonde, Nancy Grace would be all over this story.
Where is Mitrece?
I was ready to point fingers at the cops until a friend's daughter recently went to the police here in North Hollywood after her boyfriend beat her up. She filed a report and an officer offered to drive her home. Home! To her abuser!
She declined the ride and called her mom, telling her she was going to walk home. None of this made sense to me when her mom called me in hysterics.I intervened. I called the police and they seemed surprised when I jumped all over them.
"We offered to take her home and she refused," the officer told me on the phone.
Why in the world do cops, who arguably, aren't mental health professionals, but geez Louise, why listen to somebody who is clearly in no shape to make rational decisions?
I asked how on earth they could allow her to leave on her own to face a man who'd just attacked her. He told me they offered to take her home, that they would walk her to the door. If the boyfriend, for whom they'd been searching, was there, they'd make sure things were okay.
Well, she went home with the cops and the boyfriend was contrite...yeah, until he slugs her the next time.
I think about all this and think the cops showed poor judgment in releasing Mitrece to the wilderness. She hadn't been in their custody long (about two hours) and although they claim she seemed fine, she clearly and very obviously was not.
There is a chain of faulty links here, starting with Geoffreys, which should have accepted the credit card payment and called the cops to see this troubled young woman home safely, not to the poky and an uncertain fate.
My hope and prayer is that Mitrece is okay. I hope that eight days of media silence won't stretch into weeks and months of...nothing.
If YOU have information on Mitrece Richardson, please call
LAPD's Missing Persons Unit at 213-485-5381.

Aloha oe,
A.J.
A search of the Malibu Canyon's hidden hills has revealed nothing. She has vanished. The longer she is gone, the worse it looks. In reading all I have about Mitrece, my heart breaks for her and her family. She is a thoughtful, well-educated young lady who's clearly in trouble.
Somebody, somewhere must know something.

9 comments:

Jambrea said...

How horrible. I hope they find something.

AJ Llewellyn said...

Thanks for the comment Jambrea...I hope so too.

jennifer said...

that is sad i hope they find her

Lynn Crain said...

A.J.,

I have to agree with you on a lot of points. Like the color of her skin, the police's lack of judgement and a few other things.

But part of the problem is this: there is a liability issue in this country that stymies just about everything any more. Everyone is afraid of being sued. The police are liable as long as she is in their custody. The moment they released her ROR, their part is over from a liability issue. Everyone helps to pay the police's hefty liability fees through their taxes.

Now, this is a reason not an excuse. And along with this reason goes the fact we live in a sue happy world. Here is a case where the police truly were dumb and caused an issue with their lack of insight BUT their stance is that they had no more responsibility or accountability for the young woman.

It is a sad world we live in when the police can't make basic judgements because they are afraid of a lawsuit.

And it's only going to get worse.

Lynn

Serena Yates said...

I'm glad you're putting the spotlight on this, A.J. Cases like Mitrece's deserve more attention than they're getting.

Re-designing and re-training cops to be more sensitive is only part of the battle (albeit an essential one). Getting all of us to be more aware is the other part. I can't help but think that the restaurent employee who refused to take ... Read morethe card over the phone could have been more compassionate. Any of the people witnessing Mitrece's issues could have held out a hand to help (with a cab fare at the very least).

I pray and hope she can be found - just as I pray that others like her will either never get into this sort of a situation or, if they do, find someone out there to help.

AJ Llewellyn said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments everyone. Jennifer, I hope they find her too - alive.
Lynn, I always appreciate your insight and the time you take to respond to my posts. I agree with you completely agree on the liability issue. I found myself nodding in agreement reading your comments.
Serena, thank you too for your comment. I am glad we see eye to eye on the restaurant. They should have accepted the phone payment and sent her home in a cab.
I know I won't ever be going to that place for a meal again and I am betting they are not liking the bad PR they got from this incident.
You are all awesome people and I am honored to know you all!

Susilien said...

AJ,

My father retired from being a Sheriff's Deputy of 36 years on a disability in 2000. For seven years I worked for the Sheriff's Office.
Liability does come into effect with some of this, but mostly it depends on the officers. Some people have absolutely no common sense. After my father was disabled, I cannot tell you how many times similiar things happened in my area. Fortunately I know of no one that disappeared.
I do know that more often than not, if or when a similiar circumstance occured, if an inteligent officer was involved, they drove the person home or wherever they requested to go.
I really hope that they find this girl.

jennifer said...

I'm hoping the best for her but i can kind-of see how the police let her walk . I mean she is old enough to make her own decisions how can they stop her. even if she wasnt right in the head at that moment as long as she was acting like she had some sense. they wont no. I mean we really can't blame the police where was her family and friends?

mommacrystal said...

I hope the best for Mitrece. I find it so sad that with all the people on this planet that so many adults and children go missing each day. Just vanish into thin air as if they were never really there. It's a scary thing for a mom. I can't begin to imagine the turmoil these parents are going through. Especially with no coverage! I honestly don't understand it. A life is a life, no matter where they're from or what color their skin is. No matter who they're parents are or aren't. They are missing and need to be found. That's the bottom line. I do hope she is found, my prayers go out to her family.

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