A sheriff's spokesman said late Monday it was unlikely that remains found in a remote canyon near Malibu belong to missing twentysomething Mitrice Richardson, even as her family descended on the sheriff's Lost Hills station in search of answers.
The find of bones in an unincorporated area called Monte Nido was reported about 1 p.m. Monday after Park Rangers making a routine check of a canyon used to grow marijuana in the past came across the remains, according to authorities and television news reports. The area is about five miles from the sheriff's Lost Hills station. Still, spokesman Steve Whitmore said he doubted the bones belonged to Richardson:
"We have no idea who it is, but there's nothing to indicate that it is Richardson,'' Whitmore said. "We've had reports of several other missing people out there.''
Coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter told reporters and family members that investigators in his office could find out as early as Tuesday -- through X-rays and other techniques -- whether the remains belong to Richardson.
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Richardson's mother and sister went to the station Monday night. Sister Litrice Sutton told reporters, "I'm a little numb right now."
Responding to reports that Richardon was spotted in Las Vegas by a childhood classmate in June, she said, "I definitely do not believe that Mitrice is in Las Vegas."
Richardson went missing from that very sheriff's station in September after she was arrested for allegedly failing to pay a restaurant bill and then released into the remote area early in the morning. She did not have her vehicle, which was impounded, or her mobile phone, which was in the car.
Her mother and father are separately suing the sheriff's department.