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Families may find answers in dead body's ID

August 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
California state park rangers discovered a badly decomposed body near Malibu Canyon and Piuma roads near Malibu Creek State Park on Monday.Rangers were working on a marijuana-eradication detail deep in Malibu Canyon when they found the body about 1:30 p.m.

The body is so badly decomposed that rangers were unable to identify whether they are human or animal remains.

Authorities from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department haven't made any connections yet, but it's something they will be looking into.

The body was found in such a remote, rugged location that it was extracted by helicopter. It would have taken deputies hours to hike in.

Detectives will be examining the bones this evening. It appears the body had been out in the area for a long time.

"Park rangers on public land, they from time to time go out and sweep the area," said Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. "They hike back in for hours upon hours. They find groves because they want to shut them down and they always go back to where groves have been found earlier. This is what they were doing now and then they stumbled upon the bones."

Standing in a sheriff's station lobby Monday night, two distraught families listened as authorities relayed the latest information about the body found earlier.

For Latice Sutton, the discovery could her bring closure.

Her daughter, Mitrice Richardson, 25, disappeared last year after being arrested and held for hours at the sheriff's Malibu-Lost Hills station. Recently, sheriff's officials announced that Richardson was spotted in Las Vegas, but Sutton doesn't believe it.

"I would never hope for my daughter to be dead, I didn't hope for my daughter to come up missing, I didn't hope for my daughter to be discarded like trash, but it will give me answers if this turns out to be Mitrice," Sutton said.

"Hopefully with the dental records that we have, we can possibly identify the deceased remains as soon as possible," said Ed Winter, an assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County.

Pam Perryman is convinced the body is her husband, Tim, an avid hiker who disappeared six years ago.

"Our anniversary is this Saturday," Perryman said. "We've been praying to find him. This may be him."

But authorities had few answers.

"We have two families here tonight that are checking on loved ones that they lost," sheriff's Lt. Mike Rossom said. "Time will tell."

Officials said they may have the body's gender identified by Tuesday.


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