Burned body found near Castaic Lake is not missing teen, coronor says

Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department study the scene off Lake Hughes Road in Castaic where a burned body was discovered.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A body found burning near Castaic Lake is not that of missing college student Bryce Laspisa, whose SUV was found in the area, officials said.

Laspisa, 19, was traveling home from college to visit family in Laguna Niguel before he disappeared on Aug. 30. According to authorities, Laspisa had called his parents several hours before his SUV was discovered on the Main Ramp Road near the lake at about 5:30 a.m.

In her last conversation with him, Laspisa’s mother told KTLA-TV, her son said he was tired and was going to sleep on the side of the road. That was the last time anyone heard from him.

On Sept. 4, a burned body was spotted by a cyclist about three miles north of Lake Hughes Road. Lapisa’s relatives feared that it was him.


But the Los Angeles County coroner said Wednesday it was the body of Lamondre Deon Miles, 35, who lived in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone neighborhood that borders South Los Angeles.

Miles was shot multiple times in the torso in Hawthorne and was dead before his body was dumped in the Castaic area and set on fire, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The body was too badly burned to be immediately recognizable, officials said.

Authorities said 23-year-old Joanna Amezcua and her 22-year-old brother Luis Amezcua were charged by prosecutors with one count each of murder in the case. Bail was set $1 million each.

Javier Vega, 33, described by authorities as Joanna Amezcua’s boyfriend, was charged with being an accessory to murder, authorities said. His bail was set at $575,000.


Authorities said the killing apparently stemmed from a dispute over money, but they did not elaborate.

The search for Laspisa continues. Earlier this week, his father was back in Castaic, where his car was burlgarized while he was helping with the search.

“It’s tragic,” Deputy Joshua Dubin told The Times. “I can’t imagine having a missing child and, on top of that, you have your vehicle broken into.”



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