LOS ANGELES -- Remains found in Malibu this week are those of Mitrice Richardson, a California woman who vanished after being released from sheriff's custody last September, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the findings were scheduled to be announced at a news conference later in the day.

Richardson vanished after she was released early Sept. 17 at the sheriff's Malibu-Lost Hills substation in Calabasas. She was accused of failing to pay a restaurant bill in Malibu.

Her skull and bones were found Monday near an abandoned marijuana grove in a rugged Santa Monica Mountains area near Malibu.

The confirmation ends a nearly yearlong search for the 25-year-old Los Angeles area woman that spanned from the Malibu mountains to Las Vegas, where authorities recently said people reported spotting Richardson in various casinos.

Both of Richardson's parents have filed civil negligence lawsuits against authorities. Her father, Michael Richardson, said his daughter has bipolar disorder and was released far from home with no money, no purse, no cell phone and no car. The items were in her vehicle, which was impounded when she was taken into custody.

The Sheriff's Department has said Richardson appeared rational and deputies believed they had a legal obligation to release her in a timely manner.

In May, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Richardson's civil rights were violated when she was released without a car, cell phone or purse.

Los Angeles police Capt. Kevin McClure told reporters in Las Vegas last month that more than 70 waitresses, bartenders, security officers and others in Nevada and California have told investigators they think they've seen Richardson.

At the time, Richardson's father said he believed his daughter might be involved in prostitution in Las Vegas and might be under the influence of someone preventing her from contacting friends and family.

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