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Burning body found near Castaic Lake amid search for missing man

September 04, 2013|By Angel Jennings and Robert J. Lopez
  • Investigators gather evidence at the scene off Lake Hughes Road near Castaic Lake where a burning body was discovered early Wednesday morning.
Investigators gather evidence at the scene off Lake Hughes Road near Castaic… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

A burning body was discovered Wednesday near Castaic Lake, close to an area where authorities have been searching for a missing 19-year-old man.

Firefighters responded to a call of a brush fire at 6:04 a.m. about three miles north of Lake Hughes Road, said 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."

Since Friday, authorities have been searching Castaic Lake for 19-year-old Bryce Laspisa, whose pickup truck was involved in an accident in the area. 

Laspisa was driving a 2003 Toyota Highlander that was found on its side about 5:30 a.m. Friday on the Main Ramp Road near the lake, authorities said. Several hours earlier, Laspisa called his parents, reportedly from Buttonwillow in Kern County, according to the sheriff's department. 

Authorities said Laspisa lives in Roseville, in Placer County, and had been driving to visit his parents in Orange County.

Deputies on Tuesday scoured San Francisquito Canyon and surrounding areas with the aide of a helicopter and search dogs. Rescue divers from the sheriff's department searched Castaic Lake for evidence that might help investigators locate the man.

Laspisa was described by authorities as white with red hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet-11 and weighs 170 pounds.

He has a tattoo of a bull's 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 was asked to call Det. Chris Carns at (323) 890-5500.


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