The skeletal remains of Mitrice Richardson will be exhumed and examined by the FBI, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told the Los Angeles Times. The remains were discovered last August in a Malibu ravine nearly a year after Richardson vanished upon release from jail.
Clothing found near her remains—and assumed to be hers—as well as a hank of hair discovered nearby will also be examined. Baca said he called Steven Martinez, head of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, in late December to request the agency's involvement. "I am responding to the family's wishes," Baca said in a phone interview. "But I also think it doesn't hurt having the FBI say, 'We've examined this and find the following.' I think the needs of the family should be my first priority."
Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, confirmed that Baca had discussions with Martinez and had submitted a written request for the agency's assistance. ... The L.A. County coroner has agreed to the exhumation, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of the coroner's office, Baca said. The coroner's report on Richardson's remains left the cause of death as undetermined.
The remains will be sent to Bureau headquarters in Quantico, Virginia for examination, FBI Director Robert Mueller tells KABC.
The Sheriff's Department has faced mounting criticism ever since Richardson's September 17, 2009 disappearance after being released at 1230AM from a sheriff's station without car, purse or mobile. The California State-Fullerton student had been arrested for not paying her $89 tab at a Malibu-area restaurant. It was later revealed that Richardson was troubled and bi-polar. Friends and family suspect Richardson, who was a lesbian and would have turned 25 in April, was sexually assaulted and killed.
The Sheriff's Department faces two negligence lawsuits.
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