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Mitrice Richardson's Death Still Unsolved, New Report Cites Communication Breakdown Among Officials

Mitrice Richardson
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An official report form the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review issued today explores the failings in the handling of the death of Mitrice Richardson, a 24-year-old woman whose remains were found a year after she had been released from custody by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's Lost Hills/Malibu station.The report points to a "breakdown of communication" between officials working the case, namely the sheriff's deputies and coroner's office, which " led to a continuing dispute over the handling of the skeletal remains," ultimately identified as being Richardson's, according to City News Service.

Richardson's bones were found in a remote canyon in August 2010, two miles from the sheriff's station. The young woman had been taken into custody after failing to pay a restaurant tab. She was released the following morning without her phone, purse, or a ride. She may have been manic and sleep-deprived when she was let go, however, a previously-issued report concludes the LASD were correct in how they released Richardson.

Last year, Richardson's parents ordered her body exhumed and launched a private investigation into their daughter's death.

Sheriff Lee Baca said he doesn't have a "complete explanation'' of the communications breakdown identified in the report, but acknowledged "I think in this case we have something to improve on.''

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How Richardson died remains unknown, and there has been no evidence so far that indicates foul play.

"There's still no tangible evidence that we can find that relates to a blunt instrument or a bullet wound to the skull or any things that typically result in murder confirmation,'' said Baca. "So this is open.''

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