Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

Bernstein, 19, went missing overnight on January 2 after he and the friend reportedly had met up that night and later drove to Borrego Park, near Bernstein's parents' home in Foothill Ranch, roughly 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The suspect: his classmate from high school.

Police identified the suspect as Samuel Woodward, 20, of nearby Newport Beach, the Orange County Register reported.

According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Register, Woodward told sheriff's investigators he drove Bernstein to the park, who got out and walked away.

University of Pennsylvania sophomore Blaze Bernstein, pictured right, went to the park with high school buddy Samuel Woodward Jan. 2, authorities said.

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

According to the OC Sheriff's Department, Woodward was the last person in contact with Bernstein before he disappeared.

Investigators also noticed what appeared to be "dirt under the fingernails" on both of the friend's hands, according to the affidavit.

He had scratches and abrasions on his hands which he said were from a "fight club" that he took part in.

An anonymous poster at one point said that Woodward was violent and that it scared them. And as he was walking inside the sheriff's headquarters during an interview, he kept himself from touching the doors by pulling his jacket over his hand.

Zarif: Trump 'desperate' to undermine nuclear deal
He said the Europeans have been lobbying hard in the United States to put pressure on Trump to remain committed to the JCPOA . Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called Trump's remarks "extremely negative", RIA state news agency reported .

Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said Woodward was not initially a homicide suspect in the case, but that he had been under surveillance "for some time" as authorities investigated the case. He said Woodward was arrested based on inconsistencies in his comments to investigators.

His mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, told the DP that Bernstein already had items packed up to return to campus the night he went missing. "Revenge is empty. It will never bring back my son. 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".

"With his death, a handsome light has been extinguished and we encourage you to continue to shine his light, through acts of loving kindness", the Bernstein family said in a statement read by their attorney. Barnes also declined to describe Bernstein's relationship with Woodward.

Bernstein was visiting relatives in Orange County while on winter break from school.

Barnes, however, said that investigators believe Woodward acted alone.

Investigators had interviewed Woodward after Bernstein's parents reported him missing.

Jail records show Woodward is being held without bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Search and rescue crews looked for Bernstein for several days, with assistance from drone pilots. Kobe Bryant shared a news release earlier this week about Bernstein's disappearance.

"With his death, a handsome 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.

Like this: