Suspect Arrested in Slaying of College Student in OC

Details Emerge in Missing OC Teens Homicide Case

Details Emerge in Missing OC Teens Homicide Case

A suspect has been arrested in the death of 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, whose body was found this week at a Southern California park.

The Orange County Register reports that Orange County authorities arrested 20-year-old Samuel Woodward shortly after he left his Newport Beach home on Friday afternoon.

The search warrant revealed more details about the account of the friend and former classmate of Bernstein's. A news conference with Orange County Sheriff's officials is scheduled for 4 p.m. PST. Bernstein's body was found Tuesday in the brush along the perimeter of Lake Forest's Borrego Park after he had been missing for a week.

Woodward, a high school friend of the victim's, was taken into custody after authorities said they matched DNA evidence to Woodward at the crime scene.

Bernstein, 19, went missing overnight on January 2 after he and the friend reportedly had met up that night and later drove to Borrego Park, near Bernstein's parents' home in Foothill Ranch, roughly 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. While leaving the sheriff's facility during an interview, he covered his hands with clothing before touching the door knobs, the affidavit says. A sheriff's investigator earlier said that a friend of a Bernstein's appeared nervous while speaking with authorities and had scratched up hands and dirt under his fingernails. The friend said Bernstein had complained about his grades in school and "seemed depressed but never said anything about wanting to hurt himself". They drove to the park.

"Finally", Blaze Bernstein's mother said on on Twitter.

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Bernstein went missing after he and a friend reportedly met up that night and later drove to the park near Foothill Ranch, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. His parents said he left the house with no wallet, money, identification, keys or eyeglasses. Woodward's hands were scratched and had dirt on them one of the times he was interviewed by detectives, the document says. He said it was from a fight club.

Woodward also had dirt under his fingernails, which he told authorities was due to falling into a "dirty puddle" while sparring.

The warrant also stated that the friend was also "breathing heavy, talking fast and visibly shaking".

At one point, the friend opened the doors to his rental auto and allowed two detectives to look inside.

He agreed to be further interviewed at the sheriff's headquarters in Santa Ana, where his story "stayed fairly consistent".

As the investigation continues, friends in Orange County, and at the University of Pennsylvania where he attended, have been mourning Bernstein. Several hundred community members held a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening to remember the college sophomore, who had been home visiting his family on winter break.

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