With James Brown music playing and incense burning, some 150 people came out to Leimert Park Plaza on Monday to mourn the loss of 25-year-old Mitrice Richardson, whose remains were found in a mountainous ravine last week. She went missing nearly a year ago.
Richardson’s family is asking for a full investigation, including lie-detector tests and DNA samples from station deputies. Her father, Michael Richardson stood in front of the crowd and spoke directly to his daughter's killer.
“Someone in Malibu is laughing at me right now, because I’m crying. I have a tattoo on my arm that says the last laugh is always mine," said Michael Richardson.
Richardson is vowing to use his daughter’s death to create a safety net that’ll protect other young women. He's urging politicians to support a L.A. County-wide law that would prohibit sheriff’s deputies from releasing women alone at night. That’s what deputies say they did with Mitrice Richardson. At a news conference last week, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca said his sheriffs handled the case by the book and ruled out foul play. Hundred of people turned out at Leimert Park to support the Richardson family. They expressed skepticism at Baca’s quick decision.
Alma Jackson, of Compton, part of the "Front Page Family" at 102.3 KJLH, is skeptical of the official version of events of the Richardson tragedy.
"They were supposed to give her a mental evaluation," Jackson said. "This is a cover up and we're demanding answers."
Mollie Bell, a community activist from Compton, wants a closer examination of the body.
"The main thing is to support the family who worked hard to bring Mitrice home and now we have to bring justice home."
Family friend, Jasmine Cannick, who organized the vigil, said the case doesn’t make sense.
"You don’t just end up in a ravine like that by yourself," she said. "Since there was no way she, herself, could have just walked down there we need to find out what happened.”
Sheriff’s deputies at the Lost Hills station released Richardson after midnight.
They arrested her for walking out of an $89 restaurant tab. Cannick says Richardson also had less than an ounce of marijuana in her possession.