On September 17, 2009, Mitrice Richardson, 24 years old, disappeared after she was released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department into the dark of night from the Malibu/Lost Hills substation in Augora Hills without her car, purse, ID or cell phone. Eleven months later her remains were found in a secluded mountainous area. To this day, her murderers have not been publicly identified and brought to justice by either the Sheriff's Department or the FBI. The case is officially designated as "open and active" by the Sheriff's Department Homicide Division. The FBI created a file number for Mitrice's case which allows anyone with pertinent information to contact them. Mitrice's death was listed as "unknown" by the L.A. County Coroner.
Mitrice's death gives life to "Lost Compassion," a new documentary by filmmaker Chip Croft that captures the essence of Mitrice's life and chronicles the painstaking and painful work of a dedicated group of volunteers who worked tirelessly to find out what happened to Mitrice and to guard against this happening to anyone else. Chip moved from New Haven, Connecticut to Los Angeles in the 100 degree heat on September 1, 2009. He was reading the September 27, 2009 issue of the Los Angeles Times and saw the picture of a young girl with the caption, "Help Find Mitrice." Chip read the article, saw an email address and contacted Dr. Ronda Hampton, Psychologist, who knew Mitrice and spearheaded the activities to solve the mystery of her disappearance and subsequent murder. Ronda invited him to attend a press conference. Chip went, and as usual, took his video camera which he never left behind as he consistently documented and amassed over 150 hours of footage over a 4 ½ year period. He put a good portion of the footage on YouTube that is still available.
Chip is in the post production phase of the documentary. He wants to complete the film for the public to (1) know who Mitrice was (2) find her murderers, (3) learn about the unsafe release of women from jails, in particular, missing black women, (4) discuss with the soon-to-be elected LA County sheriff the need to re-visit and strengthen the investigation, (5) enroll new advocates to help move forward, and (6) attract public funding to defray costs.
Chip started a documentary project campaign on www.indiegogo.com/projects/lost-compassion/x/6425616 and www.indidiegogo.com. Search for "Lost Compassion." You can also go to www.facebook.com/LostCompassion. Giving is important, but the receiving speaks volumes. "Lost Compassion," is scheduled for release September 2014.
I have been involved, thanks to Ronda, from the beginning and made a dedicated effort to continue on the journey with her and others so that Mitrice can Rest in Peace, to know that she will not be forgotten, and that her death has brought the winds of change to so many who have lost loved ones in similar situations, especially, those with mental health issues.