LOS ANGELES -- (KTLA) -- A friend has been arrested in connection with the homicide of Blaze Bernstein, the Lake Forest 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student whose body was found in an Orange County park a week after he was reported missing, Orange County Sheriff's Department officials announced Friday.
The suspect was identified as Samuel Woodward, 20, a friend of the victim, officials announced during a news conference. He was arrested early Friday on suspicion of homicide.
The two went to the same high school and had recently been in communication.
Bernstein was found dead in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Borrego Park on Tuesday after being reported missing by his parents on Jan. 3.
The death was determined to be a homicide, but it remains unclear exactly how Bernstein died. The motive also remains under investigation.
A 16-page affidavit obtained by the Orange County Register this week described information given to investigators by Woodward who said he drove the victim to the park on Jan. 2.
According to Woodward, Bernstein went to the park alone to meet someone else and the friend didn't see the victim again. The friend then said he went to his girlfriend's house in Tustin, but was unable to tell investigators her last name or where exactly she lived, according to the affidavit.
Woodward, of Newport Beach apparently had scratches on his hands and dirt under his fingernails, but he nervously explained that he belonged to a "fight club" and had gotten his hands dirty in a scuffle.
Woodward had camping equipment inside his car and apparently tried to cover his hands when he tried to open a door, according to the document.
Based on details of their interviews with Woodward, as well as DNA evidence, authorities served search warrants and arrested him in connection with the homicide.
Investigators said that Woodward had been "cooperative" during the investigation into the missing person's case, but he subsequently requested an attorney after being taken into custody.
Though Woodward told authorities that Bernstein was meeting a third person at the park, investigators do not believe anyone else was involved in the crime.
It is unclear exactly where the homicide took place, and remains under investigation.
Mesa County / Grand Junction Daily Sentinel