Arrest made in Orange County killing of 19-year-old Penn. student


Authorities announced Friday that a suspect was arrested in connection to the death of University of Pennsylvania student Blake Bernstein. DNA tying Woodward to the crime has also been obtained, Barnes said, but he declined to provide specifics.

The pair knew each other from high school, according to multiple reports.

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

"On their way out of Sheriff's Headquarters, (investigators) noticed every door (the friend) had to touch on the way out of the building he pulled his jacket over his hand to prevent his hand and fingers from touching any part of the doors he touched".

Bernstein was home visiting his family in Lake Forest during winter break when Woodward picked him up on January 2 and drove with him to several places before winding up at a park. It's believed the two exchanged messages on Snapchat the day of the killing.

Orange County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun said that the suspect was taken into custody Friday, and that a news conference would be held later this evening outlining details of the case. These were from a "fight club" he was involved in, according to the report.

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After arriving at the park, Bernstein got out of the vehicle, but he never came back, Woodward said.

Bernstein, a sophomore at UPenn, was planning to major in psychology and later study medicine, the Orange County Register reported his father Gideon Bernstein saying last week.

Barnes says investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

Woodward attended the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana with Blaze.

Sheriff's homicide Sgt. Don Voght said it appears Woodward altered his appearance somewhat during the search and investigation.

When news of the arrest came out, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, the victim's mother, responded to ABC7 reporter Greg Lee with a statement.

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He waited for about an hour and tried to Bernstein, the newspaper reported, and he told investigators that he then left the park around 1 a.m., drove to a girlfriend's house before returning to the park at about 3:40 a.m. after Bernstein had not yet responded.

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.

The student had also just been elected to serve as the managing editor of Penn Appétit, a food publication at Penn, and had spent time over winter break brainstorming editorial visions and strategies to implement this coming year for the magazine. "My thoughts are: Revenge is empty. 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".

When asked why he had dirt under his fingernails, the friend reportedly told police he "fell into a dirt puddle".

Blaze Bernstein's family knew something was wrong.

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