Body found near site being searched for student

CASTAIC, Calif. (AP) — Investigators are working to determine the identity of a burning body found near a Southern California lake where authorities had been searching for a missing college student.

Firefighters called to the scene of a small brush blaze near Castaic Lake Wednesday morning discovered the body, sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told City News Service.

The body was too badly burned to immediately determine the person’s sex or identity, authorities said.

Searchers using dogs and helicopters have scoured the rural recreation area for 19-year-old Bryce Laspisa. Scuba divers have searched the lake about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Laspisa, who lived in Roseville and attended Sierra College north of Sacramento, vanished about a week ago on the way to visit his parents in Laguna Niguel in Orange County.

He reportedly left his girlfriend’s apartment in Chico at around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 28. After his parents became worried that he hadn’t arrived the next day, Kern County sheriff’s deputies located him in Buttonwillow.

They found him in good spirits and searched his car but didn’t find any drugs or alcohol, his mother, Karen Laspisa, told the Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/15UZDu5 ).

Around 2 a.m. Friday, Laspisa called to say he was pulling off of a freeway to sleep in his car, she said.

Hours later, his Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle was found on its side near a boat launch at the lake. His cellphone and laptop were inside along with a small amount of blood, his mother said.

Some of his clothes were found in the trunk, she said.

Authorities said he might have smashed out the truck’s back window and walked away after the crash.

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