Body found in Southern California may be missing Rocklin man

By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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A body found in a brush fire near Castaic Lake in Los Angeles County early Wednesday morning may be that of a Rocklin man reported missing last week, though forensic analysis has yet to identify the body.

Sgt. Richard Pena of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said a cyclist spotted a small brush fire close to Lake Hughes Road around 6 a.m. Wednesday, and responders from the Los Angeles County Fire Department discovered a body in the flames as they doused the scene. Investigators say it could be the body of 19-year-old Bryce Laspisa of Rocklin, whose vehicle was found crashed in a ditch about three miles away off of Lake Hughes Road on Friday, Aug. 30.

“From what the initial reports were, the body was not (undamaged enough) to be able to tell whether it was a man or woman, race, anything like that,” he said. “From what I understand, it was about three miles from (Castaic Lake).”

Laspisa’s parents, who reside in Orange County, reported him missing Friday after he failed to return home from Sierra College for the weekend.

Pena said California Highway Patrol found blood at the scene with Laspisa’s vehicle and received backup from the sheriff’s department to investigate, because the roads are CHP’s jurisdiction, but the lake and surrounding area are LASD’s. He said authorities searched the roads, the town of Castaic, nearby hotels, restaurants, hiking trails and forests for 10 hours with no leads, then brought in horses, dogs, a helicopter and divers to check the lake Saturday. Options exhausted, the LASD dropped the case to an “informal search.”

On Wednesday, Pena said arson detectives had no idea what had caused the brush fire, or whether it was related to the accident or the still-unidentified body.

“The body was north of the car, but (investigators) had already searched up there, so they don’t know what – was the guy hiding? We don’t know the answers yet,” he said.

Lt. Dave Dolson held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to confirm that the LASD will not release any information related to the victim’s cause of death until the coroner’s post-mortem exam is complete.