A badly decomposed body was found in the unincorporated community of Monte Nido north of Malibu Monday, with ABC7 reporting that it was so far gone that authorities had trouble identifying it as belonging to a man or a woman.

Still, the Los Angeles Times wondered aloud whether the body belonged to long-missing twentysomething Mitrice Richardson, who was last seen in the hills above Malibu — at the sheriff's Lost Hills station, last summer.

The body was apparently found about 20 miles from the station, which is about as far as downtown L.A. is from Malibu. The Times reported the body was discovered more than 20 miles from the station, but a map indicates the area is within about five miles of the Lost Hills outpost. The discovery was reported about 1 p.m., sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

If the body does belong to Richardson, the find would put an end to speculation that she could be in Las Vegas, where a childhood friend reported seeing her in June.

Richardson, a Cal State Fullerton graduate, went missing Sept. 17 after she was released from the Lost Hills station in the early morning darkness. She had been arrested after she allegedly failed to pay a Malibu restaurant tab.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

LA Weekly