Davante Richardson, 28, went missing from a rural area near Greybull, Wyoming in July 2020.
He’d been living with his mother in south Washington, D.C., about a mile from the nation’s capital.
In late July, Davante embarked on a cross-country road trip from the urban streets of D.C., to the remote expanse of Wyoming’s high desert.
He hasn’t been seen since, and his disappearance remains unsolved.
30 Hour Drive
Cody, Woming-based Find-911 provides drones, dogs, and other search assets to the families of missing people in the area.
Angela Lassiter is a part of that group, functioning as the advocacy and research arm of the organization.
Lassiter learned from interviews with two of Davante’s family members that, on July 22, 2020, Davante told his younger cousins that he needed to go check on his friend ‘Kanye’.
About six hours later, Davante received a text from the same cousins that the power had gone out in Washington, D.C. due to a storm.
The following morning, July 23, 2020, Davante again texted his cousins to verify that the power had come back on.
This was the last time Davante Richardson was heard from.
Five days later, Davante was reported missing to D.C. Metro police.
Earlier the same day, his abandoned car had been found 1,900 miles away.
Davante’s vehicle, a 2016 Blue Jeep Compass with D.C. license plates, was found on Crystal Creek Haul Road about six miles from Greybull, Wyoming.
Crystal Creek Haul is one of many remote mining roads in the area. Public traffic is allowed on some of these unpaved roads, but vehicles are required to yield to mining equipment, and cell phone service is nonexistent.
Davante’s unlocked Jeep was discovered by a mine employee before dawn on July 27, 2020.
Still inside the vehicle were Davante’s keys, laptop, and two cellphones.
There was no reported indication of footprints leading away from the Jeep, or any other notable activity outside of the vehicle.
‘My friend Kanye’
Davante’s family members told Lassiter he had a strong passion for music production and promotion.
Davante’s social media listed his attending a historically black college in Missouri, as well as a job in music promotion, and his roles as CEO for Launched Studios and Big Blues Studio, which provided digital design services for music industry clients.
Davante (who also went by the handle ‘D Rich’) had recently indicated his intention to ‘go check on his friend Kanye’ to members of his family.
The rapper formerly known as Kanye West famously purchased a vast acreage in Wyoming in 2018, and then purchased a second ranch in 2019. The more recent purchase spans more than 6,5000 acres and is closest to Greybull, Wyoming, just a few miles from the location of Davante’s abandoned car in July 2020.
In Februrary 2021, Angela Lassiter spoke with an investigator with the DC Metropolitan Police Department Missing Persons Unit.
The investigator told Lassiter that Davante was apparently manic and delusional when he left Washington, D.C. He drove 30 hours straight through from D.C. to Wyoming after sending several tweets to Kanye West, whom he thought was his friend.
The investigator told Lassiter that, in the week before Davante left D.C., Davante had purchased a large amount of music production equipment which was left behind in his mother’s home.
Davante was also using cannabis during this time, police say (which was legal in D.C., but not in Wyoming).
The GPS history from his Jeep’s showed the address of Kanye West’s Greybull property had been entered prior to Davante’s departure. Investigators were able to trace the vehicle’s route on a 30 hour journey (2,073 miles), only stopping for fuel.
According to the D.C. Metro investigator, the Jeep’s GPS took Davante to the remote haul road near Greybull, where police believe he became lost or disoriented.
Authorities speculated that Davante was intoxicated, or coming down off of substances also found inside the vehicle.
Exhausted, perhaps under the influence, lost, and alone in the dark; investigators posit that Davante was confused and outside the range of cell service. At some point, Davante left the Jeep with his possessions inside, then walked off before succumbing to the elements.
The D.C. investigator told Lassiter that no actual relationship between Davante and Kanye West has been established.
Kanye West had not been contacted by D.C. Metro Police as of early 2021, according to Lassiter. However, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department has said the rapper’s security team was interviewed, and the office does not believe Davante ever made it to Kanye’s property.
The number and duration of searches for Davante conducted in Wyoming is unclear in local search and rescue logs examined by Lassiter.
A member of South Big Horn Search and Rescue told told media: “we spent the better part of the fall (of 2020) out there, using a helicopter, drones, riding it on horseback and walking it on foot — we found nothing.”
A cadaver dog brought in to search the area two months after Davante’s disappearance did not alert to any presence of human decomposition in the area, and the Big Horn County Sheriff department has indicated confidence that Davante “is not within 6 miles” of the location of his Jeep.
The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department was asked by Washington, D.C. Metro to not release information in the case, in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Find-911’s Angela Lassiter has traveled the area hanging hundreds of the missing posters produced by authorities in Washington, D.C.
Lassiter also made Christmas cards for Davante’s family, featuring his photo along with the words:
“Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and forever dear.”
Family members described Davante as a kind, caring person who loves his family and has a passion for music.
Anyone with information that may be relevant to this investigation may contact the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office at 307-568-2324, or Investigator Israel James with D.C. Metro Police at 202-727-9099.
Sources for this episode include NBC 4 in Washington, D.C., Angela Lassiter’s research in Wyoming for Find-911, the Lovell, Wyoming Chronicle, the Sheridan, Wyoming Press, County10.com, and the Greybull Standard.