Two missing persons reports leave questions unanswered

LEFT TO RIGHT: Jake Roberson, William Cierzan, and Tomas Sanchez Figueroa have all gone missing recently in Santa Clarita.
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On average, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies receive several hundred missing persons reports each year, and sometimes more than one a day.

Due to procedure, most are handled by the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau. And recent partnerships between the city, Sheriff’s Station and Los Angeles County — which created resources like a Special Needs Registry and a Mental Evaluation Team — have helped reduce the number of calls and avoid a worst-case scenario for a loved one. Knowing about resources can help be a help for those in need, and for first-responders who lead the searches for those who have turned up missing.

But there are still two recent cases that have defied explanation as far as what really happened, and barring any new evidence, remain likely to stay that way.

The separate, unrelated disappearances of Bryce Laspisa and William Cierzan, in 2013 and 2017, respectively, both drew large search parties throughout the Santa Clarita Valley at the time of their respective reports.

The two men remain as part of unsolved missing person files, leaving their loved ones with nothing but questions about what happened.

Bryce Laspisa

The Laspisa family has still not given up hope that Bryce will come home, even though it’s been nearly a half-dozen years since he vanished without a trace. His last sighting was passing through the Santa Clarita Valley on his way home to Orange County.

“We keep hope alive,” said Karen Laspisa, Bryce’s mother, in a past interview with The Signal. “We have heard stories of people who have been missing for years, and that are found — and that’s always our hope, that we keep our faith that Bryce will be found.”

Bryce Laspisa, who attended Sierra College near Sacramento and whose parents live in Laguna Niguel at the time, was believed to have disappeared somewhere in the Castaic Lake area on Friday, Aug. 30.

“Shortly after 10 p.m. Aug. 28, the young man left Sierra College and began his drive to Laguna Niguel,” according to a 2013 report in The Signal. “At 5:30 a.m. Aug. 30, officers of the California Highway Patrol found his 2003 Toyota Highlander SUV on its side at the bottom of a 15-foot ravine, near Castaic Lake, the back window shattered.”

Search parties combed the area in and around Castaic Lake for days following the report of his disappearance, looking for any sign of the missing teen.

The daily efforts organized by officials wrapped up Sept. 30, and there was also a service held in his honor.

But there remains a phone number and a sporadically updated Facebook kept by the family in hopes that Bryce will be found.

“I wish we could,” said Denise, a private investigator who answered a phone number left on Laspisa’s Facebook page, when asked if there was any update to the search.

The family still forwards calls to the P.I. when they go on vacation, she said.

The “Find Bryce Laspisa” Facebook page currently has about 30,000 followers, and was last updated in December, when human remains were found in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The remains in Santa Carita are being investigated,” reads the last post relating to the search for Bryce, “but the preliminary report indicates a much older person with extensive dental work.”

William Cierzan

Another family that’s been spent years trying to find out what happened to their loved one is the Cierzan’s, who’ve been seeking answers for what happened to William for almost two and a half years now.

William Cierzan let his wife know that dinner was in the oven, and that he was waiting on her coming back home, as he’d just finished watching golf on television with his nephew.

That was Jan. 26, 2017. It was the last time Linda Cierzan heard from her husband.

“The 58-year-old Cierzan was in great spirits, she recalls of that day, when he told her the chicken was cooked,” according to a previous report in The Signal written on the two-year anniversary of William’s disappearance.

Linda reportedly came home to their house on Cuatro Milpas Street, near Seco Canyon Road, in Saugus, and found dinner was ready, the oven was turned off and William, very uncharacteristically, was nowhere to be found. 

Her husband’s personal effects that he’d likely take with him if he went out — his keys, coat, wallet etc. — were in the house, with credit cards and money in the wallet, which was also strange.

Two years later, there is still no sign of the loveable, hard-working, church-going man faithful to his wife, the article noted.

“I periodically get calls and emails from friends and concerned people who still think about Will and offer heartfelt and hopeful comments about his safe return,” Linda Cierzan told The Signal, in an article written on the second anniversary of his disappearance, in January. “Some might say that Will’s sisters and I are being foolish to hope that Will is coming back any time soon. To those I would say — but you don’t know our Will,” she said. “He is strong and good, considerate, determined, he is ever faithful to God and so I know that God will be faithful to him.”

Anyone who has information about a missing persons case and would like to help can contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be submitted 24/7 at www.LACrimestoppers.org or by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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