Suspect Arrested in Murder of UPenn Student Blaze Bernstein

Suspect Arrested in Murder of UPenn Student Blaze Bernstein

The suspect's name was not immediately released, but a Bernstein family identified him as 21-year-old Sam Woodward, a friend and former Orange County School for the Arts classmate of Bernstein.

Authorities believe that the pair met up at some point last Tuesday and drove to several places before endinig up at Borrego Park, where Bernstein's body was discovered in a shallow grave.

The Associated Press said DNA evidence links Woodward, who was the last person known to have seen Bernstein alive, with the slaying. Sheriff's investigators said they believe Woodward picked up Bernstein on January 3, drove to multiple locations in the Foothill Ranch area, before arriving at Borrego Park where Bernstein disappeared.

"With his death, a lovely light has been extinguished and we encourage you to continue to shine his light, through acts of loving kindness", the family said in a statement read by attorney Annee Della Donna.

Authorities say the suspect previously told them he had left Bernstein at the park to go see his girlfriend, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

But after multiple search warrants and interview, authorities began to question Woodward's testimony.

Suspect Arrested in Murder of UPenn Student Blaze Bernstein

As CrimeOnline previously reported, detectives wrote in a warrant affidavit that while interviewing Woodward shortly after the victim's disappearance, they noticed his hands were scratched and he had "dirt under the fingernails" on both of his hands. He said the scratches and abrasions were from a "fight club" that he was involved in.

In an earlier interview, Bernstein said that her 14-year-old daughter, Beaue, was heartbroken over her brother's death. The OC Sheriff's Department are awaiting the final results of an autopsy before determining cause of death. Investigators said they are treating his death as a homicide.

"We will continue to search for justice for Blaze and his family". "Our words can not express how grateful the family is to their community".

Bernstein went missing just five days before he was planning on returning to Penn for the start of his second semester. Orange County sheriff's officials took the suspect, identified as Samuel Lincoln Woodward, into custody on Friday.

Bernstein's mother commented on the news on Twitter, following a tweet from ABC-affiliate KABC.

At Penn, he worked at Kelly Writers House, a center at Penn for creative writers and artists, and was on the editorial board for the Penn Review, the university's literary magazine, and was managing editor of the student-run food magazine Penn Appétit. Bernstein's father said he found these notes and sent them to the executive director, Wharton sophomore Rachel Prokupek, to use this coming year. He was reported missing the following day after family members were unable to get in with him.

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