CASTAIC LAKE (CBSLA.com) — More than a dozen people Tuesday continued to search for a 19-year-old college student in the Castaic Lake area.
Volunteers, as well as divers and bloodhounds, gathered along Lake Hughes Road to look for Bryce Laspisa, who was discovered missing when his car was found overturned near the main boat launch Aug. 30. His laptop, phone and wallet were inside the vehicle.
The teen, who had reportedly just broken up with his girlfriend, was on his way to parents house in Laguna Niguel from Sacramento where he attended college.
“I have been searching and my husband has been searching for the past 10 days with his family,” volunteer Amanda Fajardo said. “We don’t want to give up. We’re not giving up. This is a family with a child that is still out there and still missing, and we want to be able to find him.”
Although officials wouldn’t confirm it, two separate volunteers said a sheriff’s dog identified a scent.
“We did have some positive report today. They found a scent at the scene. We’re excited about that,” said Fajardo.
An unidentified body was discovered burning on Sept. 4 about three miles from where authorities have been searching for Laspisa. Sheriff’s officials placed a “security hold” on the coroner’s report on the male body, which means the office is not allowed to state its conclusions.
Chardonnay Hooker has been searching with Laspisa’s family. Two years ago, her father, David Lavau, went missing after his car went over the side of a canyon road. He was found alive days later.
“It was very heartbreaking for our family to almost relive a tragedy that hits home for us. My father was missing for seven days off Lake Hughes Road. He was down in the ravine, eating leaves and bugs surviving down there. For us, it just wasn’t enough, we had to take matters into our own hands,” she said.
Hooker said the search is emotionally exhausting.
“It’s like a needle in a haystack, you don’t know really what you’re looking for, and you get afraid when you stumble upon something that looks like bones or a burned sweater like we found up there,” she said.
Hooker said she hopes more people will come out and volunteer to help.
“Even if it’s just an hour of their time, every bit counts because time is of essence right now. We need people’s hearts to move and love,” she said.
Meantime, Laspisa’s father’s car was burglarized near Castaic Lake on Tuesday. Two suspects, one 27 and the other 18, reportedly stole a computer and then led police on a car chase before being taken into custody.