A burning body was discovered today near an area north of Los Angeles where authorities have been searching for a missing 19-year-old Naperville Central High School graduate.
Firefighters responded to a call of a brush fire about three miles north of Lake Hughes Road near Castiac Lake, according to Los Angeles County fire supervisor Bernard Peters. It took fire crews 18 minutes to reach the blaze.
"We got there and it was what appeared to be a body," Peters said. The person was pronounced dead at the scene.
"We have no idea who this is," said L.A. County sheriff's Sgt. Rich Nagler. "We are waiting for homicide [detectives] and the coroner's to arrive."
Authorities have been searching the area since last Friday for Bryce Laspisa after his wrecked 2003 Toyota Highlander was found e near the lake, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. Police found the truck lying on its side, unoccupied, around 5:30 a.m. Friday on the Main Ramp Road near the lake, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said authorities do not yet know if there is a connection between Bryce and the burned body. Crews on the ground and in the water are continuing their search.
Laspisa's parents had reported him missing on Thursday but he was located that night by deputies in Buttonwillow near Bakersfield, Calif., police said. Laspisa spoke his mother about 2 a.m. Friday and that was the last contact his family had with him, police said.
Buttonwillow is about 100 miles north of Castiac Lake.
When Bryce called his mother Friday morning, he told her he was tired and was going to sleep in his car, according to Michael Laspisa. He said he was unsure why his son was making the seven-hour drive home to Laguna Niguel near Los Angeles, but he was not aware of his son having any troubles.
Bryce had spent the summer at home, where he took an English class, Michael Laspisa said. The family drove Bryce to Sierra College near San Francisco on Aug. 12 and heard from him after school began, saying he was enjoying his speech class. He was considering a major in industrial design.
Michael Laspisa described his son as fun-loving and outgoing. “Very loyal to his friends and he’s got a big huge circle of friends,” Michael Laspisa said. “He’s very kind-hearted boy.”
Laspisa attended Kingsley Elementary, Lincoln Junior High and Naperville Central High School, where he graduated in 2012, according to Susan Rice, director of communications for Naperville Unit District 203.
“We hope he’s found quickly and safe and his family’s worry will come to an end in a positive way,” Rice said.
He is described as white with red hair and blue eyes. He is 5-foot-11 and weighs 170 pounds. He has a tattoo of a Taurus the bull head with a Roman numeral on his left shoulder. He was last seen wearing white cargo shorts, a blue-and-white checkered shirt and white-and-red Nike shoes.
Anyone with information can call LA County Missing Persons Detective Chris Carns at (323) 890-5500.
Angel Jennings and Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times. WGN-TV contributed.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun