Coroner: Deputies mismanage Richardson remains

LINCOLN HEIGHTS, Calif. The remains of Richardson, 24, were found in August in a ravine near Malibu Canyon.

Richardson vanished in September 2009 after being released from the sheriff's department Malibu-Lost Hills Station in the middle of the night.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said he made it very clear to the sheriff's department that her remains were not to be removed.

Two representatives from the sheriff's department met with the coroner Monday.

The department acknowledges taking the remains without clearance.

But a spokesman said night was approaching and investigators were worried animals might destroy the remains.

Winter said the deputies may have violated state law.

"We're not looking for a culprit or anything like that," said Chief Craig Harvey of the /*Los Angeles County Coroner's Office*/. "We're interesting in determining what happened and work out those details so that our working relationship with the sheriff can continue."

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told Eyewitness News deputies were told they could remove the remains. He said a sheriff's helicopter was leaving when Winter said to put the remains back.

"Let's find out what happened," Whitmore said. "What I said, we believe to be true. What the coroner said, they may believe it to be true."

Officials said it is difficult to say if the findings by the coroner would be affected had her remains not been taken.

"That's difficult to say due to the condition of the body," Harvey said. "At this point we don't see anything that would have affected the outcome adversely."

The county /*Office of Independent Review*/ will monitor the probe into what is being called a miscommunication.

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