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Vigil marks 6 months since disappearance of college student

Posted: February 28, 2014 6:29 p.m.
Updated: February 28, 2014 6:29 p.m.

Pastor Dustin Lachance, left, leads a prayer for Mike, second from left, and Karen Laspisa, third from left, during a small vigil held for their missing son Bryce Laspisa at the Real Life Church on Friday.

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Childhood pictures of Bryce Laspisa, the teen who went missing six months ago, greeted guests to the multipurpose room of Real Life Church on Friday for a small vigil of hope that the young man would be found.

His parents, Mike and Karen Laspisa, wore orange shirts and wrist bands. “Find Bryce Laspisa,” the bands read.

The orange represented Bryce’s bright reddish orange hair, a characteristic he would joke about with his parents, his father said.

About 20 people attended the vigil on the rainy Friday afternoon. Many were volunteers who helped hunt for Bryce Laspisa — and they became friends of the family, Karen Laspisa said.

Both parents, who live in Laguna Niguel, spoke at the event about their missing son. Mike Laspisa said he sometimes goes for walks to talk to his missing boy.

“I sometimes vacillate on the past, and some days I don’t care what happened,” he said of the disappearance. “I just want him home.”

“I ask God to give him clarity to reach out for help,” the father said. “I ask God to give us some closure.”

“All of these people came out when it hit the media that this 19-year-old went missing,” said Karen Laspisa. “I truly do consider them strong support, (so) that if something did come in, I could call a handful of people and they would go and search a site.”

Three separate vigils for the missing college student were scheduled Friday across the country — one where he grew up in Naperville, Il., one where he attended Sierra College in Rocklin, California, and one in the Santa Clarita Valley, where his SUV was found, its back window smashed in, near Castaic Lake.

Bryce Laspisa was believed to have disappeared somewhere in Castaic Aug. 30, 2013.

He left Sierra College two days earlier on his way to Laguna Niguel. California Highway Patrol officers found his 2003 Toyota Highlander SUV on its side at the bottom of a 15-foot ravine, the back window shattered, near Castaic Lake.

All of his belongings, including his wallet, cellphone, and laptop, were found at the crash site.

Both Laspisas said they take solace in the fact that his body hasn’t been found, but they face difficulty in not knowing his whereabouts.

“Nobody really knows where he is. There’s been absolutely nothing, no activity,” said Karen Laspisa.” “We can account for his cell phone. We’ve got his credit cards. There hasn’t been any activity on his credit card, which of course leads us to the direction that’s not good.”

A physical search for Laspisa continued until early October. The Laspisas now rely on social media and possible sightings called in to the tipline.

“People will send messages in to the ‘Find Bryce Laspisa page,’ said Karen Laspisa. “People will sometimes send a picture. We love that because it’s instant.

“We could look at it and say, ‘Thank you for taking that picture, but it’s not Bryce.’”




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