Authorities say a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student whose body was found buried in a shallow grave in a California park had been stabbed more than 20 times.
Following the arrest, Bernsteins family posted a public message on a Facebook page that had been dedicated to finding him and now is dedicated to remembering him. "Now Do Good for Blaze Bernstein", she said.
Samuel Woodward, 20, was arrested Friday on suspicion of the murder of Bernstein after DNA evidence at the crime scene in Borrego Park and inside his auto tied him to the slaying, officials said.
The 20-year-old told authorities that he and Bernstein had driven to a Hobby Lobby store parking lot to catch up on the night of January 2, and then Bernstein left the auto and walked off into Borrego Park on by himself, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Orange County Register, Woodward said that he waited for an hour, tried to contact his former classmate on SnapChat and left.
Rodney Lischer, left, and his son Matt, 20, of Lake Forest pay their respects at the memorial set up for Blaze Bernstein in Borrego Park in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.
Undersheriff Don Barnes says DNA evidence links Woodward to the crime.
The murder weapon has not been found, according to reports.
Investigators believe the University of Pennsylvania sophomore, who was home in Orange County for the winter break, was killed after he left his house on the night of January 2.
It is the only homicide reported in Lake Forest in at least four years, according to authorities. When that failed, the friend said he went to his girlfriend's house and then returned to the park a few hours later to look for Bernstein. The affidavit states that in June, Bernstein told two female friends Woodward was about to "hit on me", but he had to promise not to tell anyone.
According to the affidavit, when asked about cuts on his hands, Mr Woodward claimed he "fell into a dirt puddle" while participating in a "fight club".
Woodward was arrested Friday after crime lab technicians determined that blood found on a sleeping bag in his possession belonged to Bernstein, the Register learned. Using Snapchat records, police said they discovered Woodward had picked up Bernstein the night he disappeared.
In one online post, Woodward reportedly wrote "I wouldn't fight anybody unless they attacked me".
Barnes says investigators are still trying to determine a motive. When speaking to police, Woodward clenched his jaw and fists, saying "he wanted Blaze to get off of him".
Woodward reportedly was known for holding conservative beliefs during his high school years.
On one of those accounts, he listed "waterboarding" as a new skill he would like to learn.