Blaze Bernstein, an Orange County native and student from the University of Pennsylvania who went missing in Lake Forest shortly after the new year, was found dead in Borrego Park by authorities on Jan. 9. Bernstein had been buried in a shallow grave since his disappearance on Jan. 2. Samuel Woodward, Bernstein’s high school friend, has been arrested for the suspected murder.
Woodward had been talking with Bernstein on Snapchat the night before he disappeared. He had waited for Bernstein outside Borrego Park, where the 19 year old disappeared for an hour before driving to his girlfriend’s house, he told authorities. However, when questioned, Woodward could not recall his girlfriend’s last name or her address, as reported by the Washington Post.
In addition, authorities found dirt under Woodward’s fingernails and said they had DNA evidence to connect Woodward to the crime though they did not elaborate.
Authorities and family members continued the search for Bernstein, although in some reports, the authorities concluded their investigations after finding nothing of import in the wilderness park where Bernstein disappeared on Jan. 2.
According to ABC News, the family launched their own investigation through the use of drones, which would have allowed the family to run facial recognition of the drone’s data to find their son.
According to the same report by the Washington Post, questions still remain unanswered by authorities, who have not yet found a weapon associated with the crime, nor a probable cause of death
“My thoughts are: Revenge is empty. It will never bring back my son,” wrote Bernstein’s mother on Twitter shortly after Woodward’s arrest.
“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.”