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Authorities find body in Malibu Canyon, seek possible Mitrice Richardson link [Updated]

August 9, 2010 |  4:48 pm

Decomposed body found in Malibu canyonPolice investigators went to a remote area of Malibu Canyon on Monday afternoon after park rangers told L.A. County sheriff's officials that they'd found what appeared to be human remains.

It was not immediately clear if the bones, found more than 20 miles southeast of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station, were those of Mitrice Richardson, who vanished after being released from Sheriff's Department custody last September.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said investigators had been dispatched to an area he described as "treacherous terrain filled with overgrown trees and brush" and possibly would have to be taken in by helicopter.

"All we know now is that there is a report of some bones," Whitmore said. "No one from law enforcement has seen this other than the park rangers."

Whitmore cautioned about drawing any quick conclusions given the remote location and the lack of additional facts.

[Updated at 6 p.m.: The remains--including a skull and assorted bones--were found in a deep ravine that had previously been identified as an area where marijuana had been grown, Whitmore said. Park Rangers were checking the area, which had been used to grow pot in the previous growing season but was found to be inactive.]

Last month, authorities held a news conference to say that Richardson could be alive and well in Las Vegas.

A friend from Richardson's teenage years said he saw her in a bar at the Rio on Father's Day weekend in June, prompting a search by L.A. County sheriff's investigators. Her father, Michael Richardson, said a Sheriff's Department official told him that they had information on numerous sightings.

But authorities have neither located her nor established for certain that it was Richardson who was spotted, and not simply a woman who resembles her.

Nothing has been definitive since Richardson — a Cal State Fullerton graduate whose 25th birthday was in April — showed up at Geoffrey's restaurant in Malibu last Sept. 16, acting bizarrely and speaking in gibberish. Unable to pay her $89 dinner bill, she was arrested and taken into custody.

Shortly after midnight, she was released from the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff's station in Calabasas without her car, which had been impounded, or her cellphone and purse, which were in the car. Several months later, police investigators discovered evidence in her diaries that she was probably suffering from severe bipolar disorder.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Carla Hall

Photo: KTLA