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Remains Officially Confirmed as Mitrice Richardson

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Sheriff Lee Baca this morning officially announced that the remains found in the Santa Monica Mountains are that of Mitrice Richardson, the 24-year-old woman who disappeared last year after being released from the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station.

"Life is fragile, the circumstances of this case are tragic," said Baca. He explained that there was no indication of homicide at this point and defended the actions of the deputies that released Richardson under questionable circumstances.

She was arrested in Malibu after a restaurant manager made a citizen's arrest when she didn't pay her $89 bill. Responding deputies subsequently found a small amount of marijuana in her car, impounded it and arrested her. She was released from custody early the next morning and was only seen a few times before vanishing.

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Richardson's father, who was informed of his daughter's death moments before this morning's press conference, said there were nine witnesses saying she was acting bizarrely and that deputies should have put her under a 51/50 hold for mental evaluation. Instead of taking her to the nearest facility 30 miles away, they let her walk out the front door, he said.

Her remains were found about two miles from the station in canyon area when California State Park rangers were checking out a former marijuana grow site.

An internal report that was unclassified this morning stated that "station personnel acted legally and responsibly in taking Ms. Richardson into custody and then releasing her from custody."

"The deputies acted properly, but that doesn't mean we could have done something more," Baca told reporters. He said an internal investigation would continue.

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