Bryce Laspisa is a college student who was driving home from school when his 2003 Toyota Highlander was found overturned on a boat launch near Castaic Lake.
For the past 49 days, family, friends and strangers have been searching for Bryce Laspisa. They have conducted several volunteer searches all around Castaic Lake and have followed up on possible sightings.
“There is no guide to being a mother of a missing person, you just do anything you can to get the word out and find your child,” said Karen Laspisa, Bryce’s mother.
Bryce was unfamiliar with California, having only lived in the state for a year. He was driving from school in Chico toward home in Laguna Niguel and stopped several times on the way home, running out of gas at one point. Bryce’s parents had trouble getting ahold of him for two days, occasionally reaching him.
At 1:50 a.m. August 30th, Bryce’s parents reached him and he had said he was driving on the I-5 but could not see any signs, she said.
“He took detour at 2:08 a.m. and got off the I-5 in a suburban area and was going to sleep in his car,” said Karen Laspisa. “I told him to call me when he got up the next morning.”
Bryce never called.
His car was found between 4:20 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. when law enforcement arrived at the lake for a training exercise, she said.
“Sgt. Wallace called and said the vehicle had crashed and was on its side. It had gone down a 15-foot ravine,” she said. “It went nose first and landed on the passenger side. Bryce had used an emergency tool to break the back window.”
Emergency personnel searched the lake and surrounding areas for signs of Bryce.
“They found his cellphone, wallet with all of his credit cards, laptop and all of his clothing in the car,” she said.
Since that date, there have been alleged sightings, but no trace of Bryce Laspisa has been found.
“It’s unfortunate but Bryce is one of many missing person cases that they (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau) have. “Missing persons in Los Angeles County is under the Homicide Bureau and so the detectives assigned to Bryce’s case are also working on murder cases,” said Karen Laspisa. “At any given time they have 18 cases. Sometimes they send us notes telling us that they’re busy and if they get a substantial lead, they would notify us. Until these last two possible sightings, we didn’t really have anything, at least nothing that we would bring to anyones attention.”
A page on Facebook called “Find Bryce Laspisa” is dedicated to sharing possible sightings of Bryce and organizing events to find him.
“As his mom, he’s my only child, I know he wouldn’t do this on purpose. His dad is on the same page, too. The first week we thought that maybe he thought the he did something wrong and was ashamed but after a week, we thought there is no way that he would just put everybody through this. Not just mom and dad, but also his family and friends,” said Karen Laspisa. “He loved life too much and he was looking forward to so many things. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The KlassKids Foundation has organized a community volunteer search beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
“Bryce is not an outdoorsy person, he never went camping. He could have hitchhiked somewhere but he had never hitchhiked in his life. We don’t know, it’s the unknown,” Karen Laspisa said. “Through social media, when anyone has come in with a lead, it’s great that we can act on it as quick as they send it in. I know people are looking, it’s not just mom and dad and it’s not just here, everyone is looking.”
Volunteers should check in at the Holiday Inn Express located at 27513 Wayne Mills Place in Valencia.
“This area is so spread out. Had he gone missing from our hometown in Naperville, Illinois, we could have guessed where he may have disappeared to. Not here, where there are canyons, lakes and remote areas,” Karen Laspsia said. “We have faith. We know that God has his hands on Bryce and we just keep praying that he gives us the answer. Everyday we wake up with new hope that today will be the day.”
Volunteers are asked to sign up online at Find Bryce Laspisa Volunteer Spot prior to Sunday’s search. Volunteers are also asked to print, fill out and bring with them the 2 forms (registration and release) that can be found on the forms page offindbrycelaspisa.com.
“We appreciate that KlassKids came to do this event, to kind of not leave any rock unturned in the area. We don’t know what we do after this. After this weekend there is no next organized search,” Karen Laspisa said. “We will continue will social media and we have plans to meet with the detectives next Thursday to come in for a status update on the case. As hard as this weekend is, it was an activity to bring Bryce home. Knowing that there are these communities up here with people that know, we keep hope and stay connected with them.”
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and bring photo identification. Volunteers need to wear clothing and shoes suitable for hiking. Water donations are kindly appreciated.
For more information about the search or information on how you can donate supplies, volunteers can call Tricia Griffiths at (801) 560-1933, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The KlaasKids Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3) public benefit corporation determined to stop crimes against children and assists families of missing children. Please visitwww.klaaskids.org for more information.
“We live and breathe this 24/7 and we now look at missing persons posters very different than we did before,” said Karen Laspisa. “I don’t know where he is at, we pray that he’s alive and that he’s out there somewhere.”