Bryce Laspisa was supposed to be driving to his parents' home in Southern California when he vanished without a trace. The Bryce Laspisa case remains one of the most perplexing missing person cases in modern true crime, with no viable leads since the teen's disappearance in 2013.
Laspisa had spent the summer at his parents' home and had only returned to school two weeks before the events of August 28-30. His parents, who have repeatedly stated that nothing seemed wrong when he left to go back to school, have described the 19-year-old college student as an "open book" who could talk to them about anything.
However, somewhere between Laspisa returning to school and police finding his car in a ravine, something seems to have gone horribly wrong. Despite years of theorizing, the question still remains: What happened to Bryce Laspisa?
On August 28, 2013, College Student Bryce Laspisa Told His Mother He Had 'A Lot To Talk To Her About' And Began Driving Home
On the evening of August 28, 2013, Karen and Mike Laspisa received a phone call from their son, Bryce, letting them know that he was driving down to their home in Laguna Niguel, CA. Laspisa was 19 and had recently started his sophomore year at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA, where he was studying industrial and graphic design. The Laspisas had moved to California from Illinois in 2012 following Bryce's high school graduation.
According to Karen, she offered to fly up to see her son, who had just broken up with his girlfriend. However, Laspisa told his mother not to make any flight reservations until they had a chance to talk. He added, "I have a lot to talk about." Karen would never find out what her son wanted to discuss.
Laspisa Ran Out Of Gas Near The Town Of Buttonwillow In Southern California
Laspisa's parents had spoken with him around 11:30 pm and thought he was heading back to his apartment in Rocklin, which would have been about a 90-minute drive from his girlfriend's place. However, they received a phone call from their insurance company the following morning that someone had requested roadside assistance using their account. When Karen called Bryce's roommate, Sean Dixon, he informed Karen that Laspisa hadn't come home that evening.
Investigators later learned that Laspisa had started driving down to his parents' home after leaving his girlfriend's apartment. The drive to his parents' should have taken Laspisa approximately eight hours, but he ran out of gas less than 200 miles north of Laguna Niguel outside the town of Buttonwillow near Bakersfield.
According To A Roadside Attendant, Laspisa Seemingly Sat Parked On The Side Of The Road For Hours On End
Laspisa was reportedly close to a rest stop and called roadside assistance around 9 am, meaning he had already been driving for over nine hours. An attendant brought Laspisa three gallons of gas, but Laspisa did not immediately continue on his trip.
After repeated attempts to contact her son, Karen called the shop that had serviced Laspisa's car for more information. The attendant, Christian, offered to check and make sure Laspisa had left the rest stop. About 15 minutes later, Karen reportedly received a call from Christian telling her that Laspisa was still parked in the same spot he'd been in three hours earlier when Christian dropped off the gas.
At this time, Karen said she was able to speak with her son, and Laspisa told her that he had just been getting some sleep and would be on his way.
Highway Patrol Officers Checked On Laspisa In Buttonwillow On August 29 But Found Nothing Suspicious
Karen and Mike assumed their son would arrive in Laguna Niguel around 3 pm on the 29th, but by 3:30 pm, he still hadn't arrived and wasn't answering his phone. By 6 pm, Karen and Mike had filed a missing person report with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Police subsequently found Laspisa only eight miles from the rest stop he'd been at for at least nine hours. Police reportedly conducted a sobriety test and searched Laspisa's car, but there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol. Laspisa told officers that he was on his way to Laguna Niguel to "hang out with a friend and blow off steam."
One officer told Laspisa to call his mother, and it was at this point Karen said she asked him to keep his phone on. Laspisa and his parents would stay in contact for several more hours before he disappeared.