Friend of U Penn student arrested in murder case

Suspect Arrested in Connection With the Slaying of Blaze Bernstein

Orange County sheriff's detectives have made an arrest in the killing of Blaze Bernstein, the missing 19-year-old whose body was found in an Orange County park this week, officials said Friday.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office says Samuel Woodward, 20, was taken into custody Friday in the death of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein. Barnes said Woodward had asked for a lawyer.

Investigators did not release a possible cause of death or the condition of Bernstein's body, which was found in the brush surrounding the park.

While Barnes said that authorities have confirmed that Woodward and Bernstein knew each other from high school, they do not yet know the nature of their relationship. 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.

Woodward, according to the affidavit, said he did not remember his girlfriend's last name or where she lived. He also had dirt under his fingernails and scratches on his hands, which he attributed to having participated in an outdoor fight club with some friends.

Woodward also had dirt under his fingernails, which he told authorities was due to falling into a "dirty puddle" while sparring. Woodward had told police the two drove to Borrego Park on January 2 and that Bernstein walked into the park by himself and did not return.

Bernstein's body was found Tuesday after recent rains partially exposed it.

"With his death, a attractive 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.

It is the only homicide reported in Lake Forest in at least four years, according to authorities.

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"Nothing will bring back my son so we ask the world to please honor Blaze's memory by doing an act of kindness today - don't wait - do it now", the grieving mom told the Los Angeles Times.

The death of Bernstein rocked the tight-knit community of Lake Forest, 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Bernstein's mother, Jeanne Pepper, responded to news of the arrest on Twitter, writing, "Finally". "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. He eventually began sending text messages to Bernstein when he didn't return after an hour.

Pictured is another view of the park.

Bernstein was visiting relatives in Orange County while on winter break from school. He had on a sweatshirt that read, "Keep the peace".

His dad said that he had a passion for cooking and was a creative writer.

Bernstein had just been chosen as managing editor of Penn Appetit, a student-run magazine on food at Penn, .

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