Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

A 20-year-old man was arrested in the homicide case surrounding Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old college student whose body was found in an Orange County park this week.

Detectives working with coroner's officials had run forensic evidence gathered at the park for DNA to help identify a potential suspect, law enforcement sources said.

Detectives said, however, that the friend's story - which included driving away from the park where he had dropped off Bernstein after not hearing from him for an hour - "stayed fairly consistent" across two interviews. Police say they are still investigating the motive. The friend said he went with Bernstein to a neighborhood park in the city of Lake Forest on January 2 to meet up with another friend but stayed in the auto, the Orange County sheriff's investigator wrote in the document. He said that he waited in his vehicle while Blaze walked to the park, then waited for around an hour the victim to return, but he never did. The friend couldn't remember the last name of the girlfriend he said he went to see later that night and avoided touching doors at the sheriff's offices following an interview, the investigator wrote. He said the scratches and abrasions were from a "fight club" that he was involved in.

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

Blaze Bernstein's body was found Tuesday after an extensive search through Borrego Park in Orange County.

When the Sheriff's Department initially interview Woodward, he said that he dropped Bernstein off at the park and waited for an hour in the vehicle.

Officials say they will talk about the case later this afternoon with the media.

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'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. She told the Los Angeles Times, "I would just say that we are grateful for the fine men and women in the (Sheriff's Department) who have worked tirelessly to get answers for our family, our community and the world".

"Finally. 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. "Now Do Good for Blaze Bernstein", Jeanne Pepper tweeted.

News of Woodward's arrest comes two days after Bernstein's identity was confirmed as the body found the day prior.

Pictured is another view of the park.

Woodward attended Orange County School of the Arts around the same time as Bernstein. He had on a sweatshirt that read, "Keep the peace".

"The only thing I can think of is that maybe he was abducted", the newspaper reported Bernstein's mother Jeanne saying on Sunday. He had recently been named to the staff of Penn Appetit magazine at school.

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