Question 1: What was happening in Bryce Laspisa’s life that contributed to his disappearance in 2013?
King of Cups – Page of Swords (reversed) – 5 of Pentacles
Card pulled for the Page of Swords (r): 8 of Pentacles
2 of Wands (reversed) – 2 of Cups – 8 of Cups (reversed)
Page of Wands (reversed) – 10 of Swords – 9 of Pentacles (reversed)
Card pulled for the Page of Wands (r): 4 of Pentacles
Disclaimer: Tarot readings should not be taken as absolute claims that something did or did not happen. I only report the meaning of the cards, their relationships and the meaning in the context of those relationships, as well as intuitions I have based entirely on the cards presented in the reading. When/if I say that something happened, in any part of a reading description, I mean that is what I am interpreting from the cards, their positions, and other related factors.
I am providing a longer than usual summary for this case because I want to do two readings on this. First, I want to do a reading asking what was happening in Bryce’s life that contributed to his later disappearance. Then I want to do a reading on the disappearance, with an emphasis on what happened closer to the time he crashed and subsequently vanished.
Bryce Laspisa was 19 years old and attending college at Sierra College in Rocklin, California in 2013. He was known for having a happy and charismatic personality. However, on August 28th, one of Bryce’s roommates contacted his parents to tell them that he was acting strangely. Bryce had just broken up with his girlfriend, Kim, via text and it was reportedly unexpected on her part. Bryce confided that something was bothering him, but he did not seem to have provided any detailed information about what it was.
A factor that many close to Bryce attributed to his change in behavior was a medication he was taking to stay up all night playing videogames with a friend. The medication was Vyvanse, used to tread ADHD, and it was not prescribed to him.
Bryce drove his vehicle about 90 miles to Kim’s house and called his mom. At some point, Kim took the phone and spoke with Bryce’s mom. She advised that he was not acting like himself, and she was worried. She had taken his keys away to prevent him from driving. Bryce’s mom asked to speak to her son again and he told her that he was okay and that he wanted his keys back. His mom offered to come out to visit her son, but he declined the offer and insisted he was fine. He told her he would call her in the morning and Kim gave his keys back to him upon his mom’s request.
Bryce called his mom, but instead of heading back to his apartment like he told her he would, cell phone records would later reveal that he was heading south – beyond the college and toward mountains. He apparently contacted roadside assistance asking for help after he ran out of gas. His parents learned about this because they had a message from their insurance company and they also found a charge on their credit card that occurred in Buttonwillow, California. The location was in the general direction of their home and so they assumed he was on his way. Bryce’s mom got in contact with the person who assisted her son and he offered to go and check on him for her. He went back to check on Bryce and then contacted his mom to tell her he was okay. He put Bryce on the phone with him mom and he reiterated that he was fine. Bryce said he was on his way home. This took place in the morning and his parents expected that he would reach their home by 3pm.
By 3:30pm, Bryce had not arrived. His parents tried to contact him for several hours with no luck. They then filed a missing person’s report with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. This occurred at about 6pm. The police were able to track Bryce through his cell phone and discovered he was still in Buttonwillow. He had traveled about eight miles from where he had been when he initially spoke to his parents. The officers searched Bryce’s car and found no sign of alcohol or drugs. They also gave him a field sobriety test and he passed. Bryce told the officers he was blowing off steam. The officers asked Bryce to call his mom, but he indicated he did not want that. However, the officers put him on the phone with his mom. Bryce had reportedly agreed to drive to his parents.
Hours later, Bryce still had not arrived at his parent’s home. His mom contacted the man who checked on him initially, from the repair shop, and he reported that Bryce was still there but agreed to leave. The man followed Bryce until he turned onto the freeway. He spoke with his parents by phone periodically but would not give landmarks when asked. At 2:09am, Bryce said he wanted to pull off to rest for the night.
At about 8am, an officer from the California Highway Patrol went to Bryce’s parent’s house to ask about a vehicle they found abandoned in the Castaic Lake area. It had crashed and was found at the bottom of a 25-foot embankment. Bryce was nowhere to be found. Some blood was found on the headrest, suggesting that Bryce was in the car when it crashed. It did not seem to be enough blood to indicate a serious injury, but no one could be sure how badly he was hurt or what happened to him after. Belongings such as his phone and laptop remained in the car. A duffel bag and Bryce’s wallet were found outside of the vehicle. There was speculation that Bryce hadn’t realized there was an embankment when he drove on the service road leading into the rest area, and thus had continued to drive with the thought that the lake was closer to him than it appeared. The people that investigated the scene believed that Bryce had attempted to commit suicide.
A large search commenced, but Bryce was never located. Tips came in about possible sightings. However, none turned out to be Bryce. At some point prior to his trip to Buttonwillow, Bryce had given away several of his belongings. The items were ones he was known to have valued, such as a pair of diamond earrings and his Xbox. He was also reportedly drinking a lot before he disappeared. That, combined with his use of Vyvanse, was believed to have played a role in his emotional and mental state at the time. Though Bryce was said to have been drinking while at college, he was not believed to have been drunk or high when the officers checked on him in Buttonwillow.
To begin, I have no way to know what happened for certain. Please do not take any of the information described in the readings as fact until or unless details are proven. I would love to see a positive outcome in every case I read on, but I could never say for sure what happened or will happen without solid proof. I ask that people remember this as they read my interpretations of the cards. I absolutely could be incorrect in my beliefs, opinions, and conclusions.
The King of Cups came up as my initial positioning card for Bryce. When I talk about him in the past tense, please note that the reason is because I have asked the cards to take us back in time to provide clues as to what was happening in his life. The energy he was exhibiting around the point of time that he vanished (up to and including that time) was consistent with attributes associated with this card. Bryce is being shown as someone who thrived on relationships and came across to his peers as someone who was wise and willing to listen. Bryce would have been someone people felt they could go to when they needed someone to confide in. He enjoyed being there for the people he cared about, and he demonstrated compassion. He would have been adept at applying a combination of logic and intuition to the problems of others.
The Page of Swords reversed represents an energy or a person that was directly impacting how he felt at the time. If the card represents a person, it would be someone with youthful energy. Some of the attributed associated with the reversed position include a lack of empathy, uncertainty about the future, a tendency to experience misunderstandings that caused conflict, an argumentative or defensive mentality, and an overall lack of planning. The astrological sign associated with the swords include Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini. Court cards can represent any gender and any sign when they come up as a depiction of a person, so it is important not to assign one without careful consideration about whether it applies, and whether it is useful.
I believe this card had a different meaning here though. The Page of Swords reversed could also indicate that Bryce received bad news. It would have happened quickly, in the form of a call, email, text, in person, or other fast-traveling medium. I am favoring this meaning because of what I have already determined after considering all the cards and their combined meaning.
I pulled the Eight of Pentacles in relation to the Page card and to me, it reinforces the notion that he received bad news. The news was likely pertaining to his area of expertise or study. It is a card that often depicts craftmanship and a need for dedication and mastery. Or it threatened his goals in relation to all this. I can only speculate about the source and content of the news, but there is this sense of fear on his part that it could cause harm to his life and his plans. It seems as though he felt the situation was worse than it really was also.
The Five of Pentacles shows me that the above-referenced situation left him feeling isolated, abandoned, and without support. A unique aspect of this card lol is that it suggests a person experiencing a significant struggle who could get the help or support they need if only they asked for it. However, something about the situation was likely causing him shame and he did not want to share it.
The Two of Wands reversed continues to point to a situation where Bryce was not planning well for the future. The reversed positioning warns against a situation where one cannot achieve their goals because they rushed through the planning process or did not take time to think each point through carefully. It also comes up when this lack of planning really begins to become evident in other areas of a person’s life because it causes a sense of disarray.
The Two of Cups is a card that denotes a partnership or close bonds that people share. This is often a positive card that shows the development of a strong and symbiotic relationship. Because it came after the Two of Wands reversed, it appears that the lack of planning – or failure to account for smaller details – was beginning to take its toll on other aspects of his life. Essentially, the problems were having a negative impact on his close relationships. Bryce understood that whatever was going on with him had the ability to cause other people grief or harm. He didn’t want that. He was trying to think of a way to lessen that blow or turn it all into a situation that everyone could live with.
An aspect of Bryce’s situation that was particularly troublesome at this time was that he appeared to have a fear of taking action that would change his circumstances. He was staying in his situation, despite knowing that it was time to move on from it and let some of the things go that were now only causing him problems. It was almost as though he was trying to accept everything as it was, without really feeling motivated to take steps in any other direction that might get him beyond it. Mostly, this card indicates that he was in a state of confusion because he couldn’t decide upon a path to take. He may not have even fully realized how many different paths were available to him. He could have felt aimless and afraid. Or he might have known the path he wanted to take but felt that pursuing it would cause major issues.
The Page of Wands reversed only served to emphasize the points made by other cards. Bryce was in a mindset where he couldn’t decide what to do. Even if he had a lot of different ideas, he was probably frustrated because this card shows up as someone who can’t make up their mind and never moves beyond the mere spark of an idea. The card sometimes points to money problems or a lack of financial security and so his worries about the future probably seemed like a heavy burden since it threatened his ability to someday gain full financial independence. Another consideration pertains to his use of Vyvanse. Where was he getting the drug and how was he paying for it? There was just this whole dimension of Bryce’s life that seems to exist beyond the veil so to speak.
The card I pulled in connection to the Page of Wands reversed was the Four of Pentacles. The card suggests that Bryce’s inability or unwillingness to make changes was connected to what he felt he had or needed in terms of the material world. I don’t know how much his parents helped him financially but when I apply intuition to this reading, I get the impression that he worried his parents would cut him off if they knew what he knew. This comes across as feeling almost unavoidable to him and he was afraid of the consequences of whatever it was he keeping under wraps.
The Ten of Swords card shows Bryce had become completely run down. The card shows him as experiencing exhaustion and feeling like an utter failure. He may have felt he had reached a dead end. Again, the swords suit represents situations where the reality is not always aligned with a person’s thoughts. Swords can represent people that perceive their situation as much worse than it is, and who simply cannot think beyond the distress they are feeling even though there are options and opportunities for help available. An unfortunate aspect of this card is that when applied to Bryce, it tells me that whatever he envisioned happening in his mind, the reality would not have been as bad. Yes, there likely would have been consequences; however, this was a storm that was always meant to pass – whether he realized that or not.
The final card, which in my readings always links back to the first, is the Nine of Pentacles reversed. I can now say with confidence that Bryce was concerned about the financial aspect of his problem or situation. This, and other cards pulled, are strongly communicating to me that he was being somewhat reckless with his finances or he was worried how revealing his problems would impact his finances. Without proper background information, I am not sure what this means. Was he spending more money than his parents typically allowed? Had he accumulated debt of some kind? Did he think his secret was so terrible that they would basically disown him? I don’t know and nothing I am getting from the reading suggests the problem he was keeping to himself was anywhere near as bad as he felt it was. But I do know that this is presenting as the major motive behind his actions – a fear of losing what he had and concerns about the consequences associated with whatever else was going on.
So here’s what this leaves me with regarding part one of two readings. Bryce spent all that time in Buttonwillow because he knew he needed to tell his parents something and he could not gather the courage to do it. He wanted to come up with some other option, but the situation was one that I think was always going to get back to his parents no matter what. Their influence in his life comes across as strong in that he was quite dependent on them. That is an age range when people are typically still dependent on parents in various ways so that is not unusual to me. But for some reason, Bryce felt his situation was serious enough that it threatened the foundation of his life and the support he believed he needed before he could transition to the point of adulthood where he would be fully responsible for himself.
On an intuitive level, I keep getting this thought about how there is at least one person that has some of the information I am lacking here. He may not have fully confided in anyone around him, but he shared something that would bring all of this into clearer focus. Maybe they didn’t, and still don’t, recognize the significance of it. Or maybe they do and they are keeping this to themselves out of respect for Bryce. Again, I just don’t know.
Was Bryce contemplating suicide? This reading does not discount that possibility. He had some intense cards come up in his reading. I do think if he was, he was trying to talk himself out of it. The cards don’t read as though he was merely hanging around Buttonwillow until he had the courage to take his own life. They read more like he was trying to get the courage to face his problems and tell his parents what was happening, but that courage was just not coming for him as he had hoped.
Often when I do readings, I get these thoughts that are not directly associated with the cards and almost seem to come from the person I am asking about. I kept getting this thought about how he was looking for signs. Not literal signs. He was waiting a kind of sign – or multiple signs – that would clear a path forward or bring him some comfort. His actions, and inaction, tell me he did not feel those signs presented themselves. Also, he was avoiding going home because he knew he could not keep the information to himself once he was face to face with his parents. Something I was to point out and stress here is that Bryce worried (worries?) excessively about how other people around him felt (feel?). He wanted people to feel good and he didn’t want to be responsible for anyone’s unhappiness – especially when it came to anything related to him. His actions weren’t out of selfishness. Quite the opposite.
I did a second reading that goes over the timeframe immediately after the crash that you can access by clicking here.
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