Bryce Laspisa is a college student who was driving home from school on Friday.
“He had been in Chico at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night, and we assumed he went back to his apartment at 1:00 am,” said Karen David Laspisa, Bryce’s mother. “He said he went up there to breakup with his girlfriend.”
His 2003 Toyota Highlander was found overturned on the Castaic Lake Main Boat Launch access road early Friday morning.
“I told him, ‘I want to fly up’ and he said ‘Mom, don’t make any flight reservations until I talk to you. I have a lot to talk about’ and we didn’t talk,” she said.
He began driving down from Chico to his parents home in Laguna Niguel but ran out of gas near Buttonwillow on Thursday. He called roadside assistance and they brought him gas, she said.
Upon Karen Laspisa’s request, “The roadside assistance serviceman went back to the rest area hours later to see if Bryce was still there. He was still at the same place where roadside assistance left him.”
Bryce had told the serviceman that he was fine and had just been sleeping, she said.
“He said to California Highway Patrol later that day that he was heading to Laguna Niguel to hang out with a friend and blow off steam,“ Karen said.
Bryce’s parents called at 12:30 a.m. Friday with no answer. At 1:50 a.m., 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.
“I woke up to the doorbell at 8 a.m. It was a California Highway Patrol officer who said he was dispatched from up north. He asked if our car was stolen, and we said ‘No our son was supposed to be home with it.’ The officer said ‘We found the car but did not find him. An officer will be in touch with you,’” she said.
He is listed as a Critical Missing Person nationwide.
The crash had to happen between 4:20 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. when law enforcement arrived for a training exercise, she said.
“Sergeant 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 has used an emergency tool to break the back window.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Parks Bureau believes that Search and Rescue options are exhausted, she said.
Friday, emergency personnel used helicopters, airplanes, boats, walking teams of the immediate grounds, two dog team searches of the immediate grounds and divers at the boat launch dock.
Saturday, emergency personnel did an early morning lake walk and another dive at a different location.
“They found his cell phone, wallet with all of his credit cards, laptop and all of his clothing in the car,” she said.
At this time the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have dropped the case down to an “informal search” status.
“All we knew on Friday was that the local hospitals were notified,” Karen Laspisa said. The case has been transferred to the Long Beach Homicide Unit.
“Through all of the social media, it has been overwhelming,” said Karen Laspisa. “My son’s girlfriend made a Facebook page, I’ve been on Facebook. I was inundated with emails from people. People are spreading the flyers and trying to help.”
If you have any information on Laspisa’s whereabouts, please contact Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station’s Sergeant Wallace 661-272-2594 or California Highway Patrol Sergeant Reyes 661-294-5540.
“It’s been frustrating but everyone is saying don’t give up the search,” Karen Laspisa said.