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Mitrice Richardson’s father says: ‘We are going to hold people accountable’

August 12, 2010 | 10:42 am

Mitrice Richardson's father blasted Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials  Thursday for allegedly mishandling his daughter's case from beginning to end.

"A lot of people wronged my daughter that night," Michael Richardson said shortly after Sheriff Lee Baca finished a news conference that identified the remains of his daughter. "It was a wrongful release based on her mental state."

Mitrice Richardson was arrested nearly a year ago after being unable to pay an $89 dinner tab at a Malibu restaurant. She was released in the dark, early-morning hours of last Sept. 17 without a car, cellphone or purse, sparking criticism of Sheriff's Department personnel. Her family and others questioned the department's procedures for releasing people at night, as well as whether she should have been held for a mental health evaluation after customers at the restaurant reported that she had been acting strangely.

Both her parents have filed separate lawsuits against the Sheriff's Department alleging negligence.

"This book is not closed," Michael Richardson said. "More chapters need to be written. We are going to hold people accountable.… I will continue to fight for her."

Mitrice's mother, Latice Sutton, did not attend the news conference, which included several testy moments between reporters and Baca. But she sent a text message Thursday morning, informing people that her daughter had been identified.

"It is with great sadness and grief that I [tell you] my baby, Mitrice Richardson, has gone on to our Heavenly Father. Thank you for all of you love, support and prayers."

The remains were discovered deep in Malibu Canyon on Monday by park rangers who had been checking for marijuana plants.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Carla Hall