Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

The Orange County Register reports that Orange County authorities arrested 20-year-old Samuel Woodward shortly after he left his Newport Beach home on Friday afternoon.

Bernstein attended the Orange County High School of the Arts for creative writing.

Woodward was interviewed by police, who described him as nervous and said he had scratched hands and dirt under his fingernails. On the night of January 2, Woodward picked Bernstein up and they drove to multiple locations before arriving at Borrego Park.

Bernstein's body was found in brush at the park on Tuesday after recent rains partially exposed it. The friend said Bernstein then walked alone into the darkness. No further details were immediately released regarding the identity of the suspect.

Sheriff's officials said the investigation is ongoing and a motive is still not known.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, has been arrested in connection with the death of Blaze Bernstein. Authorities say DNA evidence linked Woodward, who was the last person to see Bernstein alive, to the killing.

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

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. "I can not imagine the grief they must now face". Relatives said he was going with a high school friend to meet another person at the park the night he disappeared. His wallet, credit cards, glasses and cash were all found in his room.


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

"With his death a handsome light has been extinguished".

"We will continue to search for justice for Blaze and his family", she said. "I would just say that we are grateful for the fine men and women and men in the OCSD 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", her statement said, in part.

Around 1:15 p.m., two sheriff's investigators brought the handcuffed man to the Orange County Jail. He said he waited about an hour and tried to contact Bernstein on Snapchat. He said that he waited in his auto while Blaze walked to the park, then waited for around an hour the victim to return, but he never did. The friend said he seemed depressed, but didn't say he wanted to hurt himself. He said the scratches and abrasions were from a "fight club" 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.

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

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