A burned body was discovered today by Los Angeles County firefighters who were called to the scene to put out a reported brush fire.
The body was discovered in the same area where a search was underway for 19-year-old Bryce Laspisa of Laguna Niguel, who was last heard from about 2 a.m. Friday, when he called his mother from the road after driving south from his school, Sierra College, which is north of Sacramento.
Laspisa's parents reacted to the news on Twitter around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday:
"At this time, we do NOT know whether the burned body they found 3 miles down the road from where Bryce's car was found Friday is or isn't Bryce's. The detective has not contacted us. We are just waiting in limbo at home. The tv report just stated they are waiting for the coroner's office to arrive on scene."
The fire on mile marker 5N32 on Lake Hughes Road, a few miles east of the Golden State (5) Freeway and just south of Castaic Lake, was discovered about 6 a.m. by a bicyclist who then called the sheriff's station in Santa Clarita, according to the sheriff's and county fire departments.
When county firefighters got to the scene they discovered it wasn't brush that was on fire but a body, a county fire dispatcher said.
A sheriff's homicide detective told reporters at the scene the body was too badly burned to determine if it was a man or a woman. That determination will have to be made by the coroner's office.
According to his family, Laspisa told them he was too tired to drive anymore and said he was going to sleep in his SUV. His 2003 Toyota Highlander was later found overturned near Castaic Lake, with his cell phone, laptop and wallet still inside.
Sheriff's officials have searched the area but so far they have not turned up any sign of the missing student.
Written by City News Service with contributions from Peter Schelden