Mitrice’s Family Still Awaiting Drone Results from Sheriff’s Department
From Anne Soble at the Malibu Surfside News:
Family members of Mitrice Richardson, who went missing last September, are still awaiting the results of imagery analysis from drone aircraft reconnaissance of the general area of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station and the residential location where she last was reported to have possibly been sighted.
The drone, a small unmanned aircraft with high resolution photographic equipment, was operated by engineers from San Diego State University who were brought in by the family. After repeated requests, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department agreed to pick up the cost of using the craft in a search effort last Thursday.
The drone was able to fly low into canyons that search teams have had difficulty accessing on foot or by helicopter. Even the most seasoned search and rescue experts acknowledge that the rugged terrain of the Santa Monica Mountains can swallow automobiles whole, and they can remain undiscovered for years until stumbled upon, usually by accident.
The drone, a project of SDSU’s Immersive Visualization Center, has been used in the past to find the remains of missing people after traditional search efforts failed. The drone was used in the high-profile searches for two missing teenagers who subsequently were found murdered in San Diego County.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has organized several searches for the missing woman. However, the parents say the authorities waited too long before the first of these searches took place.
These guys have had weights on their legs from the get-go, slowpoking everything. And yet Altus Global Alliance and the Vera Institute of Justice both gave the Malibu Lost Hills Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department top ranking “for policing services in the U.S., an independent study conducted throughout 20 different countries on five continents found.” Of course, it was a limited and slanted study: only the U.S. was participating in the study in North America, with 97 surveyors evaluating only 23 stations in eight cities.
Rankings were based on community orientation, physical condition of the stations, transparency and accountability, equal treatment of the public without bias and detention conditions. The hours-long visit consisted of a tour of the station and informal conversations with officers and staff.
Malibu-Lost Hills scored a 96 out of 100. The global average was 62.09. The U.S. overall average was the highest, coming in at 79.22.
“They just basically won the Academy Award of policing,” said Calabasas mayor Barry Groveman, who was one of the surveyors. “(They) just hit all the target areas that I, as a representative of the community, would want to see from a community policing facility.”
The station is “particularly responsive to the needs of the community,” the study said, citing officials’ response to numerous complaints about local teens driving recklessly through neighborhoods.
Something like this would make one’s guts tighten up when it comes to Mitrice Richardson.
Mighty funny that this October 2009 study should be given credence in a Northern California newspaper. Nothing regarding the insensitivity, lying, and outright hiding of facts, witnesses and evidence were added to the surveyors’ compilations when the case of Mitrice Richardson began to develop. To me, it’s another instance of whitewashing, just like the promotion of Commander Tom Martin to captain and his being decorated by the Malibu City Council.
Speaking of Martin, Dr. Ronda Hampton recently wrote a scathing letter about the sheriff’s deputy to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Hampton has been working with Latice Sutton, Mitrice’s mother, and was Mitrice’s mentor in graduate studies in psychology at Cal State, Fullerton.
In a strongly worded letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Hampton says Tom Martin, the former captain of the Lost Hills Station, “is a liar” and has done “nothing short of interfering with an active investigation of a missing person, and this is unacceptable.”
Hampton made these allegations after viewing a videotape of the missing woman that Martin first denied existed. As a result, she asks, “When will Captain Martin be held accountable for his lies?”
She said the tape also shows that a deputy “left the facility two minutes after Mitrice was released,” and she indicated he should be questioned about this.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the results come out on a Friday or during a weekend, just like when Bush was president. Some atrocity or disreputable thing that he and Cheney would have decided or done would come out on Friday or on the weekend, and no one would be covering it because they would have all gone home.
Well, I’ll continue to cover it.