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Mitrice Richardson Search Focuses on Downtown LA

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The search for Mitrice Richardson has been renewed by church volunteers in downtown Los Angeles, who say she has been spotted in that area numerous times since disappearing after being released from a Malibu police station last September.

A coordinator of the effort to find Richardson, Chip Croft, told theLos Angeles Times the area is full of homeless shelters, weekly hotels, and social service locations, making it a prime location for someone disoriented and without money to end up.

Richardson, a 4.0 Cal State Fullerton graduate, was last seen leaving the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station in the early hours of Sept. 17. She had been arrested for not paying her bill at Geoffrey's Restaurant, where witnesses say she had been acting erratically. A few hours after being released, a nearby Malibu resident made a call to police after seeing her wandering aimlessly and speaking to herself.

Richardson, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was released from the station in the predawn hours in an area she was unfamiliar with, lacking transportation, a cell phone, or money. The family filed a claim against Los Angeles County, alleging negligence on the part of the sheriff's department personnel. The department has refuted these allegations, saying it felt legally obligated to release her after jail overcrowding prevented her from being held.

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