Bryce Laspisa, by all research, was a normal college lad. He was young, talented, and charismatic.
As the only child of Michael and Karen Laspisa, the family was absolutely closely-knit. But the trajectory of red-headed Bryce’s life would soon take a harsh and extreme twist.
Rather than cheering their son’s achievements in school, Bryce’s parents now spend each and every day asking the same question: What happened to our son?
Who was Bryce Laspisa?
Bryce Laspisa was the only offspring of Michael and Karen Laspisa, and he had been born and grown in Illinois. Not long after he passed from high school in 2012, the family shifted across the country to California.
Bryce seemed to adjust to life in California without any difficulties. A talented artist, he was majoring in graphic and industrial design at Sierra College in Rocklin, and he achieved very well in school.
He was still inexperienced but had already made an impressive portfolio of work. Bryce was extremely charming, with cheerful and friendly behavior that immediately put people at comfort.
He made a number of friends during his freshman year at Sierra College, and had also started dating another student, Kim Sly.
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At the end of the school year, he went back to his parents’ home in Laguna Niguel, which was around 465 miles south of his college.
He was attached with his parents and seemed delighted to be home with them. He divided part of the summer taking an English class at a local college; this gave him a jump start on gaining the credits he would require to get his degree.
The fall semester began on August 26, 2013. Bryce attended a speech class and a web design class that day, and he phoned his mother that night to tell her how much he loved them.
As far as Karen was concerned, the talk had been perfectly natural. Bryce was active and delighted about the new semester, and it didn’t show like there was anything she required to be worried about.
Those who saw Bryce on an everyday basis, however, were worried about him. He hadn’t been behaving like himself since he came back to Rocklin two weeks before, and his attitude was developing increasingly unstable.
The Symptoms Of Declining Behavior
Bryce had never been a nasty teenager; he was a typical youngster in college. Bryce’s history with booze and drugs was somewhat typical for any teenager starting to have a bit of adventure.
He had partaken in some underage drinking at gatherings, and his parents learned he probably smoked marijuana. However, nothing pointed towards any type of addictive attitude.
Those close to Bryce were shocked to notice an unexpected increase in his drinking usage. Bryce was drinking every day at this point, and when asked about it, he would simply say that nothing was wrong.
After some pushback from his girlfriend, Bryce ultimately admitted he was also taking the ‘study drug’ Vyvanse.
Things began to get completely out of control right around the time that classes started.
On Tuesday, Bryce’s behavior looked even odder. Kim knew that he had been drinking rather heavily lately, but this seemed to be more than just alcohol.
Concerned, she inquired Bryce what was wrong, but he asserted that everything was good. When Kim persisted to press him, he finally confessed that, in addition to drinking, he had taken the drug Vyvanse.
An amphetamine-based narcotic, Vyvanse is a powerful stimulant, and the effect it has on a person is equal to that of methamphetamine.
It has become a famous active drug on many college campuses, as it gives an energy boost that enables the user to go without any sleep for an extended period of time.
From there, things went downhill for the couple. The impacts of Vyvanse offer extreme bursts of energy, and the similarities to methamphetamine made the drug both an active and academic tool across U.S. college campuses.
Kim noticed these impacts on Bryce, who reportedly took the drug with a friend in order to stay up all night drinking and playing video games.
Kim was concerned, as this was an uncharacteristic attitude for Bryce, but he didn’t seem to feel it was a big deal.
He appeared to grow hindered with Kim for suspecting him, and finally sent her a text message saying that she would be better off without him anyway. Confused, Kim asked if he was breaking up with her, and he specified that he was.
Around 11:00 pm that night, Bryce called his mother from Kim’s apartment in Chico. It’s ambiguous why Bryce was supposed to visit Kim, as he hadn’t changed his mind about breaking up with her and he still refused to give any explanations for his sudden decision.
Worried about his erratic behavior, Kim took his car keys away from him and asked him to get some nap before trying to drive home.
Bryce told her he preferred to leave, and demanded his keys back. When Kim declined to do so, he phoned his mother.
Complaining that Kim wouldn’t let him go home, he insisted that his mom speak to her and tell her to return his car keys to him. After speaking with Karen, Kim gave Bryce his car keys and he left her apartment around 11:30 pm.
Was Bryce In Trouble?
The next morning, Bryce’s parents got an automated message from their insurance affirming that there had been a roadside help request placed for one of their vehicles.
They decided to call Bryce, wondering if he had some car trouble driving home from Kim’s apartment. They were shocked to learn from Bryce’s roommate that he had never returned home the night before.
Karen decided to reach Bryce on his cell phone, but he did not answer. But the couple was able to find the repair shop that had helped Bryce via the internet.
From there, they were able to determine the auto shop’s name that had come to Bryce’s aid.
They discovered that Bryce had called roadside assistance around 9:00 am that morning from the small town of Buttonwillow — more than 350 miles south of Kim’s apartment.
It was apparent that Bryce must have driven non-stop throughout the night to get there.
After calling the repair shop, Bryce’s parents managed to get an employee named Christian to help them.
Christian, the employee who answered the call, told Karen that Bryce had gone as far as the Buttonwillow Rest Area before running out of gas, and he had given three gallons of gas to him around 9:30 am.
When he heard Karen had been unable to get ahold of her son, Christian tried to drive back over to the rest area to see if Bryce was still there.
Christian didn’t expect to see Bryce; it had been almost three hours since the roadside assistance call, and he thought that Bryce had most likely continued on to wherever he was going.
He was shocked when he pulled into the rest area and saw Bryce resting in his car in the exact place he had been in that morning.
Bryce seemed shocked to see Christian as well, even more so when Christian handed him his cell phone and told him his mother wanted to talk to him.
Karen was released to hear her son’s voice but was worried about the circumstances in general. When she asked Bryce what he was doing, he didn’t have an answer.
Although Bryce offered little in the way of information, his voice was clear, and there was nothing to indicate he was intoxicated.
Since Bryce was only about three hours away from Laguna Niguel, Karen decided that the questioning could wait.
All Bryce had to do was get back on Interstate 5, and he would be home in a matter of hours. She suggested Bryce fill up his gas tank and said they would expect to see him at home around 3:00 pm. Bryce accepted.
Staying at the Same Spot for 13 Hours in Buttonwillow
Due to his unusual behavior, his parents quickly got the police involved when he did not reach Rocklin.
When Bryce hadn’t arrived at their home by 3:30 pm, his parents began to get worried. They had no access to calling Bryce, as once again, he was not answering his cell phone.
They tried to tell themselves that Bryce was probably stuck in traffic somewhere, but as the hours ticked by and there was still no word from him, they knew they were not dealing with a simple traffic jam.
Disturbed that Bryce may have been in a car accident, they called the police and reported him missing.
Sensibly, the first thing the police did was call Bryce’s cell phone provider and have them ping his phone to see if they could come up with his location.
Once they did, it didn’t take long to find him. Almost 10 hours after he had made the call to roadside assistance, Bryce was still in Buttonwillow.
Once they got to Bryce’s location, two Kern County deputies were sent to check on him. He had loaded up his gas tank like his mother directed, but rather than get on Interstate 5; he had simply parked near it.
If he was surprised to see the deputies, he concealed it well. He was polite and cooperative and told them he was just trying to blow off some steam before resuming his drive home.
It was a logical explanation, but deputies wanted to make sure he really was okay to drive. They had him get out of the car and performed some field sobriety tests on him; he passed easily.
He told them they were welcome to search his car, and they didn’t find anything: no drugs, no alcohol, no weapons.
Bryce wasn’t a child, and he had not been involved in any crimes, so the police had no basis to detain him. Before they let him go, however, they told him he needed to call his mother.
They were astonished when Bryce looked hesitant to do so, even after telling him that she had been extremely worried about him.
Finally, one of the officers took Bryce’s phone and called Karen himself. He convinced her that Bryce had passed their field sobriety tests and appeared to be fine.
They had no doubts about him being on the road, and this reassured Karen somewhat. She then spoke briefly with her son, telling him that he needed to get himself something to eat and then get back on the road.
He said that he would. After Bryce spoke with his mother, the deputies left, convinced that he was finally ready to make the drive home.
Despite his trust that he would be on his way shortly, Bryce was still sitting in the same spot a few hours later when Christian drove by.
He called Karen to tell her that Bryce was still parked on the side of the road and told her that he would follow Bryce to the interstate to make sure he got on it.
Bryce looked to realize that he was not going to get away with waiting any longer, especially if the police had to come back. He got a soda at a nearby gas station and told Christian he would start driving home.
Finally, more than 13 hours after he arrived there, Bryce left Buttonwillow and got on Interstate 5. Christian watched him for about 10 miles and did not observe anything strange about his driving.
He called Karen back to let her know that Bryce was finally on Interstate 5 and heading south in the direction of Laguna Niguel.
Car Accident in the Middle of the Night
Bryce extended to delay his arrival at his parents’ home, and at 1:50 am, he called them to say he’d taken a road.
He was using GPS and estimated he would arrive at 3:25 am. He then called for a second time at 2:09 am to tell them he was too tired to drive and would rest.
The following day his parents were awoken to the sound of a California Highway Patrol officer at their door. Bryce’s car had been found smashed but without Bryce inside.
The car had careened off a 25-foot embankment before crashing onto the road, where it was eventually discovered.
Camera footage revealed that only a few minutes after telling his parents he was taking a rest, he drove up a hill towards the Castaic Lake Recreation Area.
Just over two hours later, he drove past this camera again, heading up the mountain. Bryce’s car was found destroyed under an hour after this second pass.
Without Bryce present, officers were tasked with piecing together what had happened. Surprisingly, they realized that the car had not driven off the embankment by accident.
It seemed as if it was done on purpose and that Bryce had held the accelerator down the entire time.
The car was on its side when the police found it, and the glass had been broken from the inside, likely letting Bryce escape.
All of his major belongings, such as his phone, were in the car. A duffel bag that carried clothes and Bryce’s wallet was discovered on the road near the vehicle. The bag was opened, showing signs that someone had seen inside.
The crash had only little signs of blood in the driver’s seat, and there were no signs on the ground indicating Bryce struggled to move.
The Search for Bryce
The quick search was extensive, with officers using ground, water, and aerial crews to search through the vast and natural terrain of Castaic Lake State Recreation Area.
Dogs were handled and followed Bryce’s scent to a location called Government Cove, but expert divers could not find any hint of him. Despite all the struggles, Bryce had apparently disappeared.
With no indications of foul play, investigators quickly started to suspect that Bryce had been suicidal.
Shawn, a friend, told police that Bryce had gifted him his XBOX console, along with a pair of diamond earrings that were from his mother.
Combined with his odd behavior before the crash, some showed Bryce’s mental health might have been compromised.
Bryce’s Disappearance Progress After Seven Years
Today, Bryce’s family continues to believe that he is still out there. Whether they think their son wishes to be found or is hiding, many think that Bryce likely died soon after he disappeared.
In the seven years after his escape, there has been no verified sighting of Bryce. Regarding his red hair, muscular build, easily identifiable features, and the broad public search work, it would be surprising that nobody had seen him.
There may never be a definite explanation to what happened to Bryce, though it seems likely that he is no longer viable.
He has been missing for more than seven years now, and there has not been a single verified sighting of him.
If he had decided to run off and start life anew somewhere else, it’s difficult to believe that he would have been able to keep his name a secret for very long.
His data has been registered into the national missing person database, and his fingerprints, dental records, and DNA are all on record.
His parents have never discontinued their search for him and hope to know what happened to their only son one day.
Still, his parents constantly post to a Facebook page devoted to discovering their son. Maybe someday soon, we can all discover what happened.
Where Is Bryce Laspisa in 2022?
In the years since his disappearance, no fresh leads have emerged. His family keeps putting up missing persons notices, hoping to discover the truth someday.