News Briefs


Congresswoman requests FBI probe into missing woman?s case

Rep. Maxine Waters sent a letter to Robert S. Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, last week requesting a probe into the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson in mid-September. Richardson is a constituent of Waters? district.

Sheriff?s deputies of the Malibu/Lost Hills? Station arrested Richardson Sept. 16 for not paying her bill at Geoffrey?s restaurant in Malibu and for possession of marijuana in her car. She went missing after she was released at 12:35 a.m., Sept. 17, without a purse, identification or means of transportation.

The Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff?s Station has come under fire for releasing the 24-year-old in the middle of the night under such circumstances, but Sheriff?s Capt. Tom Martin has said in past interviews that Richardson was allowed to make a phone call to family members and a jailer had tried to convince the young woman to stay the night, or at least until someone could pick her up. However, he said Richardson, who he said did not appear to be disoriented, declined the offer and, according to protocol, Martin said, they could not force her to stay at the station.

Waters, in her letter to Mueller, wrote, ?Serving on the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, which is responsible for oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), I am also concerned about the failure of the FBI Los Angeles Regional Office to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mitrice?s disappearance. Based on reports I have read, there are questions as to whether the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff?s Station acted properly in releasing this young woman during the predawn hours without money or transportation, all while she was suffering from what the Los Angeles Police Department?s doctors have concluded to be bipolar disorder.?

Jeff Peterson, owner of Geoffrey?s, had said in earlier reports that Richardson had been acting strangely when she was dining alone at the restaurant and that although she had only had one drink, the restaurant?s manager believed she was not in any state to drive, so the Sheriff?s deputies were called to the scene. Field sobriety tests were conducted, but she was found to be sober at the time.

Several multiagency searches have taken place since her disappearance, involving the Sheriff?s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, which is the lead agency in the case. Last week Sheriff Lee Baca ordered a homicide investigation into Richardson?s disappearance, saying that the department did not believe she was dead, but did so to allow a three-person homicide team to join the LAPD?s search.

Citing the efforts of Richardson?s family, friends and the public in searching for her, Waters in her letter to Mueller wrote: ? … I believe that the FBI, with its trained and experienced personnel and abundance of resources, is better equipped than a private individual for such an investigation. In addition, the FBI has the responsibility to pursue cases implicating federal criminal or civil rights statutes. I believe the circumstances and facts of this case warrant the bureau?s involvement.?

Waters also requested that the FBI open an investigation into ?the circumstances surrounding her arrest, detention, and release from the custody of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station.?

Dolphin Award nominations sought

Nominations are being sought for the annual Malibu Times Citizens of the Year Dolphin Awards.

The purpose of the Dolphin Awards program is to recognize outstanding efforts of individual Malibu citizens and, by acknowledging and publicizing their contributions, inspire others.

Readers are invited to submit nominees worthy of being considered for a Dolphin Award? individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving one or more aspects of Malibu?s community life.

To submit a nominee, write at least one page describing your nominee?s contribution and why you think they should be considered. Please include enough information (several paragraphs at least) for the editorial/publishers board to be able to make an informed decision. Be sure to include his/her contact information. Mail to 3864 Las Flores Canyon Rd., Malibu, CA 90265or e-mail to

The deadline for submissions is January 15.

The Malibu Times holiday schedule

The Malibu Times offices will be closed Dec. 24 beginning at 3 p.m. and Dec. 25.

Malibu City Hall is closed Dec. 24 beginning at noon, and Dec. 25.

?Laura Tate