Body Of Missing OC Teen Found, Death Considered A Homicide

Source Orange County Sheriff's Department

A University of Pennsylvania student who mysteriously disappeared in California last week has now been found dead - and his death is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said Wednesday.

Bernstein, who was visiting with family on winter break from the University of Pennsylvania, went to Borrego Park on the night of January 2 to meet someone for unknown reasons, according to Annee Della Donna, an attorney and friend of the family.

Authorities say witnesses said Bernstein met up with a friend and the two drove to Borrego Park, where he got out of the vehicle and went into the park.

On Jan. 9, NBC reported that search efforts to find Blaze Bernstein, of California, ended after searching the Whiting Ranch Wilderness in Southern California and finding no clues.

Sheriff's officials said the body was found around 2 p.m. Tuesday in some brush surrounding the park.

No additional information on his case was released by police.

In an interview with CBS Los Angeles, Bernstein's parents pointed to the left behind items as evidence that the teen planned on coming home that night. An autopsy is being performed Wednesday.

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"Sheriff's investigators are actively following multiple leads, but no suspect is in custody", the sheriff's office said. They arrived at the park at 10:30 p.m., and he went alone into the park, she said.

Bernstein's friend eventually began sending text messages to him when he didn't return, but did not hear back from him, she said.

Bernstein's phone had stopped functioning and was turned off around 11:30 p.m., Della Donna said.

His parents said they believed their son was planning to come home because he didn't take his wallet with him.

"The only thing I can think of is that maybe he was abducted", the Orange County Register reported Bernstein's mother Jeanne saying on Sunday.

Bernstein's father, Gideon Bernstein, had worked with friends of the family to conduct independent drone operations. "He recently became managing editor of the foodie magazine at the University of Pennsylvania, called Penn Appétit", he said.

Also posting were retired basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and "The Real Housewives of Orange County" cast members Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge.

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