Mitrice Richardson, the 24-year-old woman who disappeared after being released from the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff Department station in Agoura on Sept. 17, 2009, is resurfacing in the headlines after the latest search’s questionable findings.
The most recent search for Richardson, which covered the areas where she was last seen, came to an emotional pause, when the more than 100 members of the volunteer search party, including Richardson’s family, stumbled upon a freshly painted mural featuring her likeness.
The exact location of the mural has not been made public yet, but it contains pictures of numerous African American women wearing afro hairstyles similar to Richardson’s the night she disappeared, and all of the women are pictured nude.
According to the sheriff’s department the paintbrushes and paint can lids that were found at the scene were still wet, implying that the mural was painted either the day of the search or the night before.
The search was heavily publicized, and with the mural being found on the search route, family members believe that whoever was involved in Richardson’s disappearance wanted the murals to be found.
“This is a message. Someone is trying to tell me something,” said Lattice Sutton (Richardson’s mother) as she tried to hold back tears. “No one can imagine living a nightmare like this; a nightmare that is nine months long and still hasn’t ended yet.”
Captain Joe Stephen, the commander of the Lost Hills Station, says the mural is currently under investigation and deputies are looking for signatures, or monikers, that taggers use and comparing the artwork with samples in their data base.
“If we find out who did this, they will be dealt with swiftly,” said Stephen.
Video of the mural, and psychologist Ronda Hampton, a key member of the Richardson family support group, as she discusses its possible implications can be seen at www.ourweekly.com.