Although there have been several numerical studies on particle dispersion in mixing layers, most of them have been conducted for temporally evolving mixing layers. In this study, numerical simulations of a spatially developing mixing layer are performed to investigate particle dispersion under various conditions. The full compressible Navier--Stokes equations are solved with a high-order compact finite difference scheme, along with high-order time-integration. Accurate non-reflecting boundary conditions for the fluid flow are used, and several methods for introducing particles into the computational domain are tested. The particles are traced using a Lagrangian approach assuming one-way coupling between the continuous and the dispersed phases. The study focuses on the roles of the large-scale vortex structures in particle dispersion at low, medium and high Stokes numbers, which highlights the important effects of interacting vortex structures in nearby regions in the spatially developing mixing layer. The effects of particles with randomly distributed sizes (or Stokes numbers) are also investigated. Both instantaneous flow fields and statistical quantities are analyzed, which reveals essential features of particle dispersion in spatially developing free shear flows, which are different from those observed in temporally developing flows. The inclusion of the gravity not only modifies the overall dispersion patterns, but also enhances stream-crossing by particles.