There's an update to the mysterious disappearance of Mitrice Richardson, the now-25-year-old lesbian Los Angeles woman who disappeared ten months ago. The former beauty queen vanished after she was released from a Malibu sheriff's station in 2009. A Los Angeles court recently declared her dead. Authorities are investigating dozens of sightings of the missing woman in Las Vegas, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Richardson's father, Michael Richardson, said Wednesday that a Sheriff's Department official told him recently the department had gathered information on 80 possible sightings of his daughter in Las Vegas. [Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore] would not confirm that number but said, "They wouldn't be doing this if they didn't believe they had credible information of her whereabouts. They want to prove or disprove beyond a shadow of a doubt that these sightings are indeed fact or indeed not fact."
According to Michael Richardson, a Sheriff's Department official discussed with him the possibility that his daughter was working as a prostitute in Las Vegas. Richardson said it was possible she was under the influence of someone keeping her from contacting family and friends. Or that she may have simply shrugged off old connections on her own. It's also possible that the multiple sightings are not of Richardson but of a woman who resembles her. "Absolutely possible," Whitmore said. "They want to make it definitive."
CNN reports a former high-school classmate now living in Las Vegas reported seeing Richardson at a casino in early June. "The casino's security cameras didn't have video of the incident that was of a high enough quality. But since then, investigators have talked to more than 70 people who say they have seen her."
On September 17, the California State-Fullerton graduate was arrested for not paying her $89 tab at a Malibu-area restaurant. At 12:30am, she was released from a Los Angeles County Sheriff's station in without her purse, cellphone or automobile, which was impounded. It was later revealed that Richardson was troubled and bi-polar.
In May 2010, Rep. Maxine Waters asked the Justice Department to investigate the disappearance. Earlier this month, Richardson's mother filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County and Sheriff's Department officials.