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Mitrice Richardson: $900,000 settlement tentatively reached

August 23, 2011 | 10:38 am

Mitrice The parents of Mitrice Richardson have reached a tentative agreement to settle their lawsuits against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for $900,000, according to sources with knowledge of the settlement.

The missing 24-year-old was found dead almost a year after being released from the Los Angeles County sheriff's Malibu station.

Her parents have been sharply critical of the sheriff's department's handling of their daughter’s case, starting with her release from custody around midnight without car, purse or cellphone. Richardson went missing after her release.

Almost a year afterward, her remains were spotted in a remote Malibu Canyon ravine. Criticism of the department’s handling of the case continued.

In February, for example, months after her body was recovered, authorities found eight more bones in the area.

That discovery came just a few months after Richardson’s mother said she found a finger bone while at the site memorializing her daughter.

The grim discoveries followed public criticism of the sheriff's department from a prominent coroner’s official who told The Times that deputies had removed Richardson’s remains from the canyon without his permission, possibly violating the law and undermining the thoroughness of the coroner's inquiry.

Sheriff’s officials argued they had no choice because it was getting dark and animals might have destroyed the remains if they had not acted.

Recently, Richardson’s remains were exhumed by coroner’s officials from an Inglewood cemetery so that her complete skeleton could be reexamined.

The settlement amount is still tentative, sources said, and has not yet been officially approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. If approved, it will be split between Richardson’s parents.

Michael Richardson, Mitrice’s father, said he would continue to speak out about the sheriff’s department’s handling of the case.

“In my eyes, as the father, I didn’t receive justice. My daughter’s killer is still out there,” he said.

He said he always wanted his lawsuit to go to trial so that more information about her disappearance could be aired out. But he said he left the decision to his attorney.

“I can’t make a rational business decision because I’m personally involved,” he said. “My thought was I’m like a surgeon trying to operate on myself.”

Richardson’s mother could not be reached Tuesday morning.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said the department would not comment until the settlement was final.


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-- Robert Faturechi

Photo: Mitrice Richardson. Credit: Richardson family