A memorial service was recently held for Mitrice Richardson, the 24-year-old woman whose remains were discovered Aug. 9, 11 months after she was released from Malibu Lost Hills Police station. She was held, after being arrested for non-payment of a dinner tab at Geoffrey’s restaurant.
During the service, which was organized by the victim’s mother Latice Sutton and other friends of the family, they came across what was later determined to be a finger bone.
Clea Koff, a forensic anthropologist who has been working with the family, believes the finger bone belongs to Richardson (this has not been verified). “(Finding the bone) immediately told us that despite the best efforts, the removal of the body on Aug. 9 (against direct orders from the coroners office) may have compromised the investigation. This is not a criticism of what has been done,” Koff said. “This is about what can be done now.” The bone was turned over to authorities.
Richardson’s mother has asked the Sheriff’s Department and coroner’s office to search the area for more remains. She also wants her daughter’s body exhumed for testing she hopes might lead to a definitive cause of death.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said that Sheriff Lee Baca had no opposition to the family and their request to exhume the remains.
Chief Coroner Ed Winter, who originally determined that Richardson’s cause of death was “undetermined,” has agreed to return to the area with a special skeletal remains search team. Winter said the team was ready to search last weekend but rescheduled due to the change in weather, but added that he is in regular contact with Koff and the Richardson’s family.