The Bizarre Disappearance of Bryce Laspisa

It’s been almost a decade since Bryce Laspisa went missing, and in that time, police have found no leads as to his whereabouts. By presenting Bryce’s story, we hope to raise awareness of a case that the sleuth community too often overlooks. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Bryce Laspisa, we urge you to contact your local authorities. His family deserves closure.

Who Was Bryce Laspisa?

19 year-old Bryce Laspisa was attending Sierra College at the time of his disappearance. Based on his first year of college, one would think that he was on the path towards success: he received excellent grades, forged a close friendship with his roommate Sean Dixon, and began dating fellow student Kim Sly. However, the progress he’d made during his first year began to unravel during his second; he started drinking heavily and abusing the ADHD medication Vyvanse, which he claimed to use as a means of staying up all night playing video games.



Three days before his disappearance, Bryce broke up with Kim via text message, claiming that she was “better off without [him].” He also sent Sean a heartfelt, though utterly strange text: “I love you bro, seriously. You are the best person I’ve ever met. You saved my soul.” That same day, he gave Sean both his Xbox and a pair of diamond earrings that his mother had given to him. 

What Secret Was Bryce Laspisa Hiding?

Clearly, something was wrong with Bryce, something that neither his friends nor family understood. By no means had he come from a troubled background. His parents owned a home in the affluent city of Laguna Niguel, California. Aside from occasionally partaking in underage drinking, he had never really been a rule-breaker. And he had never displayed signs of mental illness. All this begs the question, had Bryce undergone a trauma so severe that he felt he could not disclose it to the people closest to him?

Sean thought it necessary to call Karen Laspisa–Bryce’s mother–and explain her son’s recent erratic behavior. Later, when Bryce was on the phone with his mother, he told her, “I have a lot to talk to you about.” Unfortunately, Karen would never know what exactly her son was referring to, as he went missing shortly after.

The Events of August 29-30, 2013 – Bryce Laspisa Goes Missing

The next morning–on August 29, 2013–Bryce’s parents received an automated voice message from their roadside assistance company. The message informed them that Bryce had used roadside services at 9am on their 2003 Toyota Highlander. What followed was a series of unexplainable events that culminated in Bryce’s going missing. 

  • After receiving the call from roadside assistance, Karen immediately calls Bryce. He does not answer, so she calls Sean. Sean claims that Bryce is not there, nor had he come home at all the night before. Now panicked, Karen checks her son’s bank statements and finds that he’d made a purchase at a car repair shop in Buttonwillow, CA. Buttonwillow is a small town situated halfway between Sierra College and Laguna Niguel. So Karen presumes that Bryce is driving home.
  • Karen calls the repair shop, asking if any of the workers had seen her son. The man on the other end, Christian, is exceptionally helpful. He tells Karen that he had indeed seen Bryce earlier. Apparently, Bryce had run out of gas on the highway, so he pulled into a rest stop. He called roadside assistance, and Christian arrived to fill his car with gas. Despite this having occurred a couple hours ago, Christian offers to return to the rest stop to see if Bryce is still there. 
  • Christian returns to the rest stop and is shocked to find Bryce sitting in his car with the windows rolled up. He doesn’t appear to be doing anything but staring blankly. Christian asks him to roll down the window. He calls Karen and hands the phone to Bryce. Bryce has no real explanation as to why he has been sitting in his car for the last couple hours, but he assures his mother that he will be home soon. With that, Christian leaves, expecting Bryce to start the three-hour trek to Laguna Niguel.

Bryce’s Parents File a Missing Person’s Report

It is 6pm, and Bryce still hasn’t returned home. His parents file a missing person’s report. The police find Bryce’s car in the parking lot of a hotel in Buttonwillow. Again, Bryce is inside the vehicle, doing nothing but staring blankly. A sobriety test is performed on Bryce, and he passes. His car is searched and found to contain no drugs or alcohol. Since he is not doing anything illegal, all police can do is strongly encourage him to go home, as his parents are worried sick. Bryce tells the police that he will finally start driving home.

At 2am, Bryce calls Karen. She asks him where he is, and he responds vaguely, just claiming that the road is dark. He says that he is too tired to continue driving and needs to pull over to sleep. She reluctantly agrees. This is the last conversation he will have with his mother.

Several hours later, the Laspisas’ doorbell rings. The family rushes to the door in anticipation that Bryce is on the other side. However, they open the door to find a police officer. The officer informs them that their 2003 Toyota Highlander has been located at the bottom of a cliff near Castaic Lake. The vehicle is totaled, and there is no sign of the driver. 

Could Bryce Laspisa Still Be Alive?

Nearly 10 years later, Bryce still hasn’t been located. Aside from two small drops of blood found in the vehicle, there is no evidence that he sustained any traumatic injury. He left his cell phone and laptop in the car, making it impossible to trace his whereabouts. 

Police suspected that he intentionally drove his car off the cliff in a failed suicide attempt. Bryce’s parents, however, disagree, citing the fact that Bryce had never displayed any signs of mental illness prior to the events of August 29-30.

Considering that investigators have never so much as a found a trace of Bryce, it is more than possible that he is still alive. Therefore, solving this case could not only bring closure to the Laspisas, but it could bring Bryce home.

Conclusion

Was Bryce’s odd behavior prior to his disappearance the result of his abuse of Vyvanse and alcohol? Did he have a mental health condition that had just begun to rear its ugly head into his life? Until we find him, we may never know.

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