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Remains found in Malibu Canyon said to be that of a woman; link, if any, to Mitrice Richardson is unclear

August 10, 2010 | 11:25 am

Decomposed body found in Malibu canyonThe skeletal remains found Monday afternoon in Malibu Canyon are believed to be that of a woman, according to a law enforcement source.

Women's clothing was also found near the scene, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.

L.A. County sheriff's officials and the L.A. coroner's office are trying to determine whether the remains belong to Mitrice Richardson, who has been missing since September, or one of several people who were reported missing in the area.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a9448305970b-800wiThe bones were found about 2 1/2 miles from the last credible sighting of Richardson.

The L.A. coroner's office said it was conducting exams on the remains Tuesday morning.

Police 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.

The bones were found more than 20 miles southeast of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station. Richardson vanished after being released from Sheriff's Department custody on Sept. 17, 2009.

Last month, authorities held a news conference to say that Richardson could be alive 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 had been spotted, and not 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 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.

-- Carla Hall and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Mitrice Richardson. Credit: KTLA via Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department