A 19-year-old college, Bryce Laspisa. had his entire future ahead of him, full of promise and possibilities. But he vanished seemingly into thin are in August 2013.
The saga began on August 30, when Bryce’s mother, Karen Laspisa, got an unexpected call in the wee hours of the morning. It was Bryce, who should have been in his apartment at Sierra College in Rocklin, California, but was instead hundreds of miles south, near Buttonwillow. Karen’s alarm bells rang, but Bryce reassured her, promising to drive home the next day.
At 11 a.m., Karen and her husband were alerted that their son, Bryce, had used their insurance’s roadside service. The notification came from a man named Christian, the owner of Castro Tire and Gas in Buttonwillow. Earlier that morning, at around 9 a.m., he had brought three gallons of gas to Bryce who had run out. Christian offered to go back to where he had last seen Bryce.
On returning, Christian found that Bryce had not budged from his spot in hours. He went up to Bryce, shared his parents’ concerns, and then dialed them to let them know of their son’s location. Bryce agreed to drive the three-hour trip back home, and Christian watched as he departed around 3 p.m.
As time went on and they heard nothing from Bryce, his parents became more anxious. They ultimately decided to report him missing to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Through tracking his cell phone, two officers located Bryce just a short distance from where Christian had last encountered him. They reported that Bryce appeared alert and friendly, with no signs of drug or alcohol use in his car.
The officers told Bryce that his parents were worried. When Bryce hesitated to call them, they called for him. Karen asked him to come home and reached out to Christian for updates. At this point, both Karen and her husband felt a sigh of relief when Christian called to confirm that Bryce had resumed his journey on I-5, heading south.
But the next day came and went with no sign of Bryce. Frantic, Karen and her husband Mike contacted the authorities, who traced Bryce’s cell phone to Buttonwillow. Yet, when the police found his car, it was abandoned, and overturned near Castaic Lake, a full two-hour drive south of Buttonwillow. His clothes, cell phone, and wallet with cash and credit cards were found in the car, but there was no sign of Bryce.
He was seen on surveillance footage turning onto an access road, not pulling over for a nap. In the days that followed, authorities and volunteers scoured the rugged terrain around the crash site.
Canine units picked up his scent but lost it near a truck stop as if Bryce had gotten into a vehicle and driven away. Despite deploying helicopters and divers to comb the lake and its surroundings, no additional evidence turned up, deepening the mystery surrounding his disappearance.
What confounded investigators further were the events leading up to Bryce’s disappearance. Friends reported that he’d been acting strangely, staying up late into the night playing video games, and consuming large quantities of alcohol. In a break from his usual cheerful demeanor, he’d seemed unusually distressed and had abruptly ended his long-term relationship.
And a service station attendant in Buttonwillow, who interacted with Bryce before his disappearance, stated that Bryce seemed disoriented. This statement, combined with his peculiar behavior, ignited speculations of a possible mental health crisis.
Could it be that Bryce, burdened by an unseen emotional struggle, decided to run away? Did he stage his disappearance, leaving behind his overturned car as a decoy? The possibility, while chilling, cannot be entirely dismissed.
Despite these speculations, the concrete facts of Bryce’s disappearance remain scarce. The lack of physical evidence and the inconsistency in his actions in the days leading up to his disappearance have left investigators and his family stumped. Without conclusive evidence, Bryce’s case remains open, a haunting reminder of a young man’s unexplained absence.
Almost ten years later, the story of Bryce Laspisa’s disappearance is still unsolved. The mystery continues to baffle, raising more questions than answers. Did Bryce intentionally vanish, or was he a victim of foul play? Was his strange behavior a cry for help, unnoticed until it was too late?
In the shadow of these lingering questions, Karen and Mike Laspisa continue their relentless quest for answers, hoping that one day they’ll uncover the truth about what happened to their son. They are still hopeful, even as the trail grows colder with each passing day. For them and for everyone who knew Bryce, the truth, no matter how painful, will offer a sense of closure.
And the mystery remains: Where is Bryce Laspisa?