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Sheriff’s Department calls off hunt for missing teen at Castaic Lake

Family member says volunteers will continue searching as their numbers grow

Posted: September 13, 2013 6:30 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2013 6:30 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - Friday marked the second week since the disappearance near Castaic Lake of a 19-year-old teen, and a sheriff’s Parks Bureau official said the department’s hunt in the area has been called off.

“We pretty much searched all the areas we thought he could be in the park,” said Deputy Johnie K. Jones, spokesman for the Parks Bureau. Deputies and divers have searched both the shoreline and the lake for a sign of Bryce Laspisa since Aug. 30.

“We had dogs come out and searched everywhere we thought he could be,” Jones said, adding that further direction on the case would have to come from the Homicide Bureau.

Laspisa’s SUV was found rolled down a ravine off the road leading to the Castaic Lake main boat ramp on Aug. 30. He was driving from Northern California to his parents’ home in Laguna Niguel when he disappeared.

But volunteer searchers were still hunting for the red-haired teenager on Friday, and Laspisa’s uncle says there’s no waning in their  determination — and that of the family — to find out what happened to him.

“I think the whole family is still very hopeful and keeping the faith,” said Brian David, who lives in Illinois but is coordinating with at least some of the volunteer searchers.

While the hunt for Laspisa has mostly moved away from the shores of Castaic Lake to other areas where people have reported possible sightings, the number of volunteers has actually increased, David said.

He personally coordinates with some 18 searchers and stays in contact with two missing-persons groups that have joined in the hunt, David said.

They are now concentrating on reports of sightings and on gaps in the account of Laspisa’s trip from Chico to Castaic.

“You try to make sense of it, but you really can’t,” David said of the trail of information about Laspisa’s drive south that ended with the discovery of his car.

So far, all reported sightings of the college student have failed to pan out, he said.

“We’re still thinking positive,” he said.

Searchers plan to gather Saturday morning at the Starbucks on Castaic Road to continue their hunt.



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