Suspect Arrested in Slaying of College Student in OC

Blaze Bernstein

Blaze Bernstein

Woodward apparently told police he drove Bernstein to the park but did not get out of the vehicle with him and left when he didn't return. On the night of January 2, Woodward picked Bernstein up and they drove to multiple locations before arriving at Borrego Park.

Authorities had been searching for Bernstein for days when his body was found Tuesday afternoon in brush surrounding a neighborhood park in the Foothill Ranch area of the city of Lake Forest.

"We Do Believe Mr. Woodward was acting alone", Barnes said.

Pictured is the park in which Bernstein was found. That friend told investigators that he had left Bernstein after he walked off by himself in Borrego Park, Barnes said. He said Woodward was arrested based on inconsistencies in his comments to investigators.

Woodward was the last person to see Bernstein alive, Barnes said.

Authorities are not specifying the condition of Blaze's body or how he died yet, as there is still an ongoing, active investigation in the case.

The pair knew each other from high school, according to multiple reports. That was the last time Bernstein was reported to have been seen, authorities said. Relatives said he was going with a high school friend to meet another person at the park the night he disappeared. His wallet, credit cards, glasses and cash were all found in his room.

During a meeting with authorities earlier this week, police say Woodward put his jacket over his hand so that his bare skin would not touch any part of the doors he opened and closed on his way out of the police station. "With his death, a lovely life has been extinguished".

Samuel Lincoln Woodward
Samuel Lincoln Woodward

Statement From the Bernstein Family for the Press Conference:We have just learned that the OC Sheriff's Dept and... "Our words can not express how grateful the family is to their community".

Blaze Bernstein on a recent trip to Iceland.

"Revenge is empty", Bernstein's mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, wrote on Twitter after the arrest was announced. "My only hopes are that he will never have the opportunity to hurt anyone else again and that something meaningful can come from the senseless act of Blaze's murder". A news conference with Orange County Sheriff's officials is scheduled for 4 p.m. PST. He said he waited about an hour and tried to contact Bernstein on Snapchat. He eventually began sending text messages to Bernstein when he didn't return after an hour. Officials also saw that the friend had several cuts and scratches, but he claimed they stemmed from a "fight club" he was involved in.

Investigators also noticed what appeared to be "dirt under the fingernails" on both of Woodward's hands, according to the affidavit.

The 16-page warrant filed by a sheriff's investigator and obtained by Bernstein's friend was "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".

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