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Burning Castaic body IDed; not missing Laguna Niguel college student

Lamondre Deon Miles, 33, is seen in this undated photo. Miles' burned remains were found in a burning patch of grass off Lake Hughes Road near Castaic Lake on Sept. 4, 2013.
September 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A burning body found near Castaic Lake last week was identified Wednesday. The remains are those of a South Los Angeles man, not a missing college student who vanished in the same area.

Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators said the body was South L.A. resident Lamondre Deon Miles, 33.

His body was discovered in a burning patch of grass off Lake Hughes Road near Castaic Lake on Sept. 4. Sheriff's investigators said Miles had multiple gunshot wounds to his torso.

Miles' family said he had not been in contact with anyone for several days, and that was completely out of character for him. Family members reported him missing on Monday. On Wednesday, they learned it was his body that was set on fire after being shot several times.

"This is absolutely one of the worst days of our lives," said Karen Lewis, the victim's cousin. "To find out and learn the details of how this happened, how he was killed like he was an animal, makes no sense to us."

Following several leads, including the use of an automatic license-plate reader, it was determined the shooting occurred in a car near Crenshaw Boulevard and the 105 Freeway in Hawthorne on Sept. 3 at about 2 p.m.

South L.A. resident Joanna Amezcua, 23, and her bother Luis Amezcua, 22, were arrested Friday and charged with murder. They were held on $1 million bail. Her boyfriend, 33-year-old Javier Vega, was charged Tuesday with accessory to murder and arson. His bail was set at $575,000.

The motive of the crime appears to be a dispute over money allegedly owed by the victim to the suspects, according to the sheriff's department.

Relatives say Miles was a good father to his two sons and daughter. His close-knit family is devastated by his murder and the brutality of the crime.

The discovery of Miles' remains coincided with the search for missing college student Bryce Laspisa, whose overturned SUV was located near Castaic Lake nearly two weeks ago.

The search continues for the 19-year-old. A search party was being organized to look for Laspisa Thursday morning.

Laspisa was on his way home from Sierra College, north of Sacramento, to Laguna Niguel to visit his parents and never arrived home. He called his family in Laguna Niguel around 2 a.m. on Aug. 30. About three hours later, his wrecked SUV was found near Castaic Lake, but there was no sign of Laspisa.


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