BY Neal Broverman
November 16 2009 2:15 PM ET
Brilliant and beautiful, Mitrice Richardson found it easy to make people fall in love with her. The 24-year-old’s charm was evident the evening of September 16 when she showed up at a glamorous Malibu, Calif., restaurant to eat dinner by herself. A group of young people soon asked her to join their table, and they enjoyed her company even though they found her banter increasingly odd.
Richardson told her dinner guests she was from Mars and reportedly began speaking in gibberish. This was not typical behavior for the former beauty pageant contestant, who graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a 4.0 grade point average, held down two jobs, volunteered for charity, and was in a committed relationship with another dynamic young woman.
Things went from weird to uncomfortable when Richardson couldn’t pay her $89 tab for Kobe steak and an ocean breeze cocktail. After she unsuccessfully tried to have her grandmother pay the bill over the phone, the restaurant called Los Angeles County sheriff’s officers. The cops found a small amount of marijuana in Richardson’s 1990 Honda Civic. Richardson’s car was impounded, and she was taken into custody at a Malibu sheriff’s station on suspicion of defrauding an innkeeper and possession of marijuana.
Shortly after 1 a.m., Richardson — who lived more than 30 miles away, in south Los Angeles — was released on her own recognizance from the isolated station. An employee told Richardson she could spend the night at the station, but she declined the offer. She allegedly left without money or identification, which her family says remained in her impounded Civic. City buses had stopped running hours earlier.
Mitrice Richardson has been missing ever since.
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