Friends and relatives of a missing former Naperville resident will mark a somber anniversary Monday, with hope still overruling fear that the search for Bryce Laspisa will end with him found unharmed.
A gathering set for 8 p.m. Monday at Frontier Park will celebrate optimism that the missing 19-year-old will soon return home safely. Monday will mark one month since the disappearance of the 2012 Naperville Central High School graduate with a distinctive cap of bright red hair.
Orland Hills resident Brian David, Laspisa's uncle, is encouraged that more than 100 volunteers continue daily to pursue leads and scour the area around Castaic Lake in northern Los Angeles County, where the young man's overturned Toyota Highlander was found Aug. 30.
"Family is still very hopeful," said David, 49. "We get these possible sighting and it lifts your spirits, and then you find out it's not him, so there's highs and lows."
The discovery of a burned corpse in the area Sept. 4 caused the family to fear the worst, but the victim wound up being someone else. David said numerous reports of people fitting Laspisa's description have extended the roller-coaster ride, as well.
"It's a big country, and only two percent are redheads," he said. "I can't believe how many (missing) people with red hair are being found who aren't Bryce."
His loved ones also find cause for assurance from several psychos who have contacted them that Laspisa is still alive. One medium who practices remote viewing and usually works with law enforcement took information from the family and "she still may not help," but they don't know yet, David said Friday.
"Personally I'm not a real big believer in psychics and paranormal and all that stuff…but she has come up with stuff that, unless she drove 2 1/2 hours and went out there, there's no way she could come up with it," he said.
His sister, Karen Laspisa, who is Bryce's mom, is "getting by, day by day," David said, and will take part in a vigil in Castaic on Monday. But it's tough not knowing.
"Hopefully I never have to encounter somebody I know who goes through this, but unless you've been in this position you can't know what it's like," he said. "Whatever you think the family is going through, you multiply that by 100 and you're getting close."
The vigil will take place at 8 p.m. Monday in Frontier Park, 3380 Cedar Glade Driver, Naperville. For more information, visit "Find Bryce Laspisa" on Facebook.