Police Arrest Suspect in Slaying of College Student in Calif.

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

Blaze Bernstein's body was found Tuesday, Jan. 9 after an extensive search through Borrego Park.

A suspect has been arrested in the death of 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, whose body was found this week at a Southern California park.

Update: Authorities announced an arrest Friday in connection with Bernstein's death. Orange County sheriff's officials took the suspect, identified as Samuel Lincoln Woodward, into custody on Friday. His body was found Tuesday in brush surrounding the park after days of searching by rescue teams, with assistance from drone pilots.

Video from a pair of local television stations showed the suspect being led into the Orange County jail in handcuffs. A sheriff's investigator earlier said that a friend of a Bernstein's appeared nervous while speaking with authorities and had scratched up hands and dirt under his fingernails. An affidavit described detectives' interview with that friend who drove Berstein to the park the last time he was seen alive. The friend said Bernstein had complained about his grades in school and "seemed depressed but never said anything about wanting to hurt himself".

He waited for about an hour and tried to contact Bernstein, the newspaper reported, and he told investigators that he then left the park around 1 a.m., drove to a girlfriend's house before returning to the park at about 3:40 a.m. after Bernstein had not yet responded.

When asked about the abrasions by detectives, the young man said that they were from a "fight club" he participated in and that his fingernails were dirty because he fell into a "dirt puddle" during sparring. Detectives say as they were interviewing the friend, they noticed scratches and abrasions on the friend's hand.

At one point, the friend opened the doors to his rental vehicle and allowed two detectives to look inside.

He agreed to be further interviewed at the sheriff's headquarters in Santa Ana, where his story "stayed fairly consistent". But, the affidavit says, while he had told investigators that he went to his girlfriend's home after he left Bernstein in the park, he said he could not remember her last name and did not know where she lived.

"On their way out of Sheriff's Headquarters, (investigators) noticed every door (the friend) had to touch on the way out of the building he pulled his jacket over his hand to prevent his hand and fingers from touching any part of the doors he touched". When news of the arrest came out, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, the victim's mother, responded to ABC7 reporter Greg Lee with a statement. My thoughts are: Revenge is empty.

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