Mother of missing woman sues LA County Sheriff’s Department

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A copy of People Magazine containing a story about missing Los Angeles girl Mitrice Richardson after her family filed a claim as a prelude to a possible lawsuit against the Los Angeles County in Los Angeles on March 16, 2010.

The mother of a woman missing since September has filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit against the Los Angeles County and Sheriff’s Department. Mitrice Richardson, 24, vanished after authorities released her from the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff's station. The suit alleges wrongful death although Richardson’s body has never been found.

Attorney Leo Terrell is handling the case. He and Richardson’s mother Latice Sutton spoke with reporters in front of the L.A. County courthouse.

“Mitrice Richardson was left out on September 16, 2009," Terrell said. "She was released in the middle of darkness by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department without any keys, without any ID, without any way to get home. She’s been missing ever since.

"Mitrice Richardson had a bipolar condition," said Terrell. "The Sheriff’s Department should have kept her there. They had an obligation to keep her there. They are responsible for why she’s missing today.”

Terrell says video footage shows Richardson in a holding cell behaving in a childlike manner. Sheriff’s Department spokesmen have maintained that she acted normal.

Authorities arrested Richardson after she failed to pay an $89 restaurant bill.

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