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Police Arrest Suspect in Slaying of College Student in Calif.

13 January 2018

New details have emerged in the homicide case of a missing Orange County teenager who was found dead near Borego Park.

The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Samuel Woodward. According to the document, Woodward said Bernstein seemed depressed, but didn't say he wanted to hurt himself.

According to the Orange County Register, the friend said Bernstein had told him they were going to meet up with another friend from high school, and they arrived at the park shortly before midnight on January 2. Bernstein's body was found Tuesday after heavy rains revealed some of his remains in a shallow grave in the brush along the perimeter of Lake Forest's Borrego Park, authorities said.

Video from a pair of local television stations showed the suspect being led into the Orange County jail in handcuffs. Woodward apparently told police he drove Bernstein to the park but did not get out of the auto with him and left when he didn't return. The friend said he left the park an hour after meeting up with the victim to visit his girlfriend in Tustin, but he could not recall her last name or address.

On Jan. 4, two days after Bernstein disappeared, detectives spoke with Woodward again at Borrego Park and noticed that his hands had several small scratches and abrasions, according to the affidavit obtained by the Register. Officials also saw that the friend had several cuts and scratches, but he claimed they stemmed from a "fight club" he was involved in.

The friend also had what looked like "dirt under the fingernails" on both of his hands and, during a follow-up interview at the sheriff's headquarters, took measures to avoid touching any doors in the office with his hands or fingers, the newspaper reported.

The Register reported, based on an affidavit signed by police investigators, that the suspect was "visibly shaking" in one interview.

At one point, the friend opened the doors to his rental auto and allowed two detectives to look inside. Inside the vehicle, officers found camping equipment, a black belt, and a large plastic bin inside.

Still, the friend's story "stayed fairly consistent", police 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.

His mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, told the DP that Bernstein already had items packed up to return to campus the night he went missing.

"Finally. My thoughts are: Revenge is empty".

"Nothing will bring back my son so we ask the world to please honor Blaze's memory by doing an act of kindness today - don't wait - do it now", the grieving mom told the Los Angeles Times. 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.

Police Arrest Suspect in Slaying of College Student in Calif.