City offers $15,000 reward for missing girl

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The Malibu City Council, last week during its quarterly review meeting, established a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson.

The family, particularly the father, Michael Richardson, of the missing 24-year-old, has been extremely critical of the city for what they perceive as its nonparticipation in helping to find her.

The idea to offer a reward came from a Malibu resident, during the Oct. 26 regular city council meeting who said the entertainment industry has stigmatized Malibu because its city officials have not made enough of an effort to locate Richardson. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 29 authorized a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Barovsky said the council would have enacted the reward at the Oct. 26 meeting, but that it cannot legally take action on items that are not on the meeting agenda. “I don’t think there’s anyone on this council that doesn’t feel for the [Richardson] family,” Barovsky said at the meeting.

Richardson was arrested Sept. 16 after dining at Geoffrey’s Restaurant in Malibu and allegedly not paying her bill and for possession of marijuana in her car. While many have criticized the restaurant manager for having Richardson arrested due to nonpayment of the bill (Richardson’s grandmother offered to pay the bill by phone, but the payment could not be accepted because she could not fax a signed receipt), owner Jeff Peterson said the Sheriff’s station was called because it was thought Richardson, who was acting strangely, could not safely drive her car.

However, Sheriff’s officials said she seemed fine and was not under the influence of alcohol, and released her at 1 a.m. Sept. 17 from the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff’s Station, without a cell phone, identification or transportation. She has been missing since that morning.

“The City of Malibu, the residents, I think you guys are the most honorable, sympathetic people,” Michael Richardson said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “I am grateful for the $25,000 to help locate my daughter. But what I am disappointed at is what I had to go through to get it.”

Stern last month said Richardson wanted him, and the city, to do something about his missing daughter, but the mayor told Richardson, “We don’t the have the authority and ability…to tell emergency and law enforcement what to do.”

“[The Richardson family] asked for $10,000 and we offered $15,000 because we care and we’re trying to do the right thing,” Mayor Andy Stern said Tuesday in a telephone interview.