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Suspect Arrested in Murder of UPenn Student Blaze Bernstein

Suspect Arrested in Murder of UPenn Student Blaze Bernstein

Until almost a week later.

After the sheriff's department announced on Wednesday it had found and identified Bernstein's body, his parents thanked investigators in an emotional statement to reporters.

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

The suspect: his classmate from high school.

The Orange County Register reports that Orange County authorities arrested 20-year-old Samuel Woodward shortly after he left his Newport Beach home on Friday afternoon. Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes Woodward was the last person to see Bernstein alive, according to a report from CBS Philadelphia.

Investigators said Woodward told them Bernstein walked off into the park alone when they arrived. But, the affidavit says, while he had told investigators 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. When detectives spoke to him again on January 4, two days after Bernstein disappeared, his hands had several scratches and abrasions. In the affidavit, the investigator wrote that the friend said the scratches on his hands and dirty nails were from a "fight club" he was involved in. Although officials would not say whether he was buried or not, they confirmed that Tuesday's storm helped find his body. And as he was walking inside the sheriff's headquarters during an interview, he kept himself from touching the doors by pulling his jacket over his hand. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said that charges were pending against Woodward and did not elaborate on what he could face until all details of the case were looked over. He said Woodward was arrested based on inconsistencies in his comments to investigators.

Missing UPenn student found dead in California; case investigated as homicide

His mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, told the DP that Bernstein already had items packed up to return to campus the night he went missing.

"Finally. My thoughts are: Revenge is empty".

"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. "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".

Detectives said, however, that the friend's story - which included driving away from the park where he had dropped off Bernstein after not hearing from him for an hour - "stayed fairly consistent" across two interviews. Authorities have not said how or why he died, or if a weapon had been used. Bernstein's father, Gideon Bernstein, had also worked with friends of the family to conduct independent drone operations. According to the Register, they attended the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California, together.

Barnes said a motive for the killing is still under investigation.

Tunisia president to meet unions, employers amid protests
According to the Interior Ministry , more than 700 people have so far been detained for clashing with police and inciting "riots". Activists and the opposition have called for fresh protests on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of Ben Ali's overthrow .


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