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Congresswoman Waters Asks DOJ to Investigate Mitrice Richardson’s Disappearance

May 6, 2010
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, recently requested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) open an investigation into the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson. Ms. Richardson disappeared after being arrested and subsequently released by the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department (LACSD) in the wee hours of the morning of September 17, 2009. FBI Director Robert Mueller informed the Congresswoman that the FBI does not investigate adult missing persons, only persons under the age of 18.

However Congresswoman Waters continued her efforts to assist Mitrice Richardson's family in locating her by contacting the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in a letter yesterday, requesting an investigation.

"I believe that Mitrice's civil rights were violated when she was arrested and then let go in the middle of the night without money, a phone, or transportation," said Congresswoman Waters. "The roads of Malibu are dark and dangerous at night, and since the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) later concluded that Mitrice appeared to be suffering from bipolar disorder that evening, I believe that the circumstances surrounding her disappearance warrant a thorough, federal investigation."

The Congresswoman continued, "People with disabilities, including mental disabilities, are a protected class in this country. It appears the Malibu/Lost Hills Sherriff's Department failed to follow its own policies, which state that individuals with mental disabilities are to be released into the care of family, friends, or medical professionals. I believe that the Justice Department is the best equipped agency to handle this investigation, and I will continue to work with the appropriate officials to help the family of Mitrice Richardson."

Congresswoman Waters is a also cosponsor of the Help Find the Missing Act (H.R. 3695), which would improve federal, state and local efforts to compile and coordinate databases of the missing and allow private citizens who seek information on their missing loved ones to review certain facts and evidence. 

A copy of Congresswoman Waters' letter to the DOJ can be found here. Her original letter to the FBI can be found here.