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Mother of Mitrice Richardson wants daughter's body exhumed

December 20, 2010 |  1:30 pm

The mother of Mitrice Richardson and an anthropologist working with the family have requested that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the coroner's office exhume Richardson's body for further testing that might shed light on how she died.

In the wee hours of a September morning in 2009, Richardson was released by the Sheriff's Department at the Lost Hills/Malibu Station after an arrest for not paying a dinner tab at Geoffrey's. She did not have a car or phone. She disappeared and was found dead in early August of this year.

"When Mitrice's body was picked up on Aug. 9, they did not pick up all her body," said Clea Koff, who holds a master's degree in anthropology and runs a nonprofit group that helps families with forensic identification of missing and deceased people.

Koff noted that authorities did not find Richardson's neck and that family members stumbled on a finger bone in the leaves and dirt when they were holding a memorial service in early November at the remote Malibu site where the remains had been found.

"It was upsetting, distressing," said Koff, noting that the improper removal of Richardson's remains by untrained people "may have compromised" the investigation into her death. Koff and Richardson's mother, Latice Sutton, spoke at a news conference in South Los Angeles on Monday.

Koff also has called on the coroner to perform a cranial examination and compare the hair on Richardson's head with a bundle of separate hair found and collected with her remains. She also said that pubic hair on the woman's remains should be combed for other fibers.

Richardson's body was found naked. About 400 feet south, searchers discovered her jeans -- unzipped -- and her black bra unhooked, according to Koff. The anthropologist said those clothes were never sent to a crime lab for testing and should be now.

-- Carla Hall