Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Suspect arrested in Blaze Bernstein's homicide investigation

Suspect arrested in Blaze Bernstein's homicide investigation

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.

"Based on inconsistencies in the story of [Woodward], we focussed on him as a suspect", Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.

The pair knew each other from high school, according to multiple reports.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward was arrested Friday, three days after Bernstein's body was found buried in a shallow grave in an Orange County park. Court filings back up initial reports: That a sheriff's investigator thought Woodward seemed nervous during their interview, that he had scratches on his hands and dirtied fingernails, and that he tried not to touch the building's doors.

Woodward previously told homicide detectives that he drove Blaze to Borrego Park, at Foothill Ranch, on January 2 at around midnight. Authorities said they do not yet know where Bernstein was killed. He said the scratches and abrasions were from a "fight club" he was involved in. Woodward said he then drove away, but returned a few hours to look for Blaze in and around the area, but couldn't locate him. Woodward is expected to learn what his formal charges are by Tuesday at the latest. Authorities said they were investigating his death as a homicide but would not say how he died.

Video released by the sheriff's department and obtained by CBS Los Angeles shows Woodward in handcuffs being escorted by investigators.

Orange County Sheriff's Department shows Blaze Bernstein 19 as they seek the public's help in finding him. The OCSD says Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 2 2018 while entering Borrego Pa
Blaze Bernstein 19 was found dead Tuesday in a California park. He was reported missing Jan. 3 authorities said

The friend had attended the Orange County School of the Arts with Bernstein.

His body was found in brush Tuesday after a search lasting almost a week. Bernstein, 19, was found dead in a California park earlier in the week after he went missing the week before.

"With his death, a lovely 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.

The student had also just been elected to serve as the managing editor of Penn Appétit, a food publication at Penn, and had spent time over winter break brainstorming editorial visions and strategies to implement this coming year for the magazine.

"Finally", Bernstein's mother, Jeanne, tweeted shortly after the arrest.

"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. 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. The detectives noticed hiking and camping equipment in the rear of the vehicle, a large empty plastic bin on the backseat, and a black belt on the passenger seat floorboard. Several celebrities, including Big Bang Theory actress and Lakers legends and, posted about the case as Bernstein's whereabouts were still unknown to the public.

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