Earl Ofari Hutchinson

*For the past year, I have lived with the terrible case of Mitrice Richardson.

The surface circumstances about the case are now well known. Mitrice, the 24 year old African-American woman, with emotional challenges, was held and then released alone by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s from their Malibu substation in the early morning hours of September 17, 2009. She then disappeared. Her disappearance touched a national nerve.

It ignited loud and anguished pleas from her parents, friends and thousands of concerned citizens, a cover photo in People Magazine, several searches of the area where she was last seen by sheriff’s deputies and teams of volunteers, and countless reports of Richardson sightings in Los Angeles and various other cities.

Richardson’s mother, Latice Suttton, appeared twice on my radio shows asking for the public’s help in finding her daughter. But that wasn’t enough. She then asked for my help in formally appealing to Attorney General Eric Holder to direct the FBI to enter the investigation. This was a more than reasonable request since Mitrice’s disappearance had by then generated national publicity and outrage.

There was great concern that she may have been the victim of foul play that may have involved the crossing of state lines. This made her disappearance and possible death a federal matter.

We knew that Richardson was by no means an aberration. More than 800,000 missing persons cases are on file with the FBI. Most of those are children.

However, nearly 29,000 of them are adults and juveniles who are “missing under circumstances indicating that the disappearance was not voluntary; i.e., abduction or kidnapping. This made the case even more compelling. Latice and I jointly made the request in November, 2009 for Justice Department involvement.

The response was the typical bureaucrat’s duck and dodge. The FBI said it was sympathetic to the plight of Richardson and her family,and would keep … (READ MORE HERE)

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