Authorities have arrested a friend in the killing of a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student who was buried in a shallow grave at a Southern California park.
Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach was arrested Friday on suspicion of murder, Orange County officials say.
Undersheriff Don Barnes says DNA evidence links Woodward to the crime. Details of Bernstein’s death aren’t being released.
Barnes says investigators are still trying to determine a motive.
Woodward was the last person to see Blaze Bernstein alive, Barnes says.
Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, has been arrested in connection with the death of Blaze Bernstein. Police say DNA links Woodward to the case
Woodward, in a previous interview with police, said he had sustained scratches while participating in a fight club. Pictured is his mugshot
The body of Bernstein, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, was found on Tuesday at Borrego Ranch Park in Southern California. Bernstein was home for winter break when he went missing on January 2
Bernstein was visiting his family in Foothill Ranch during winter break from the Ivy League school when his high school friend Woodward picked him up on January 2 and drove with him to several places before winding up at Borrego Ranch Park.
Bernstein’s body was found in brush at the park on Tuesday after recent rains partially exposed it.
Woodward has asked for an attorney, authorities say.
Authorities say the suspect previously told them he had left Bernstein at the park to go see his girlfriend, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Woodward could remember neither the name nor address of his ‘girlfriend’, police said.
He also had scratches on his hands, which police say he told them he had sustained while participating in a fight club.
Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes, left, takes a questions as District Attorney Tony Rackauckas looks on during a news conference about the death
Gideon and Jeanne Bernstein speak on January 10 during a news conference
Woodward also had dirt under his fingernails, which he told authorities was due to falling into a ‘dirty puddle’ while sparring.
During a meeting with authorities earlier this week, police say Woodward put his jacket over his hand so that his bare skin would not touch any part of the doors he opened and closed on his way out of the police station.
Authorities had previously said said they were investigating the death as a homicide.
‘We are grateful for the fine men and women in the OCSD who have worked tirelessly to get answers for our family, our community and the world,’ Bernstein’s mother Jeanne told the Los Angeles Times.
Pictured is the park in which Bernstein was found. The Ivy League student was planning to major in psychology and later study medicine, his father said
Pictured is another view of the park. His father had said his son had a passion for cooking and was a creative writer
Woodward and Bernstein had attended the Orange County School of the Arts together.
When he was arrested, Woodward was wearing a shirt that read: ‘Keep the peace.’
A woman who lived at the house where Woodward lived would not comment on the matter to the Los Angeles Times.
Bernstein, a sophomore, was planning to major in psychology and later study medicine, the Orange County Register reported his father, Gideon Bernstein, saying last week.
His dad said that he had a passion for cooking and was a creative writer. He had recently been named to the staff of Penn Appetit magazine at school.
A friend at school told WPVI that she had been communicating with Bernstein over break over ideas for the magazine for the next semester.