UPenn student found dead in California park
Researchers launch murder investigation after the student has been found dead in Orange County.
A former classmate from the University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein, whose body was found Tuesday in California park, was reportedly nervous when he was interviewed by the detectives, who have launched an investigation into the murder of the 19-year-old death.
Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department interviewed about an alleged friend of Bernstein’s who was seemingly frightened as she spoke to him, The Mercury News reported, citing a statement.
The friend, a former classmate of the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, was “breathing heavily, talking fast and visibly shaking” as he spoke with the researchers about his meeting with Bernstein on the night he went missing.
Blaze Bernstein’s body was found Tuesday in Borrego Park, the place where he was reported missing.
(Orange County Sheriff’s Office)
The friend told law enforcement that he and Bernstein spoke via Snapchat on Jan. 2 – the night that he was going to miss. He is reported to have been picked Bernstein to “hang out” and “catch-up” in a Hobby Lobby parking lot for the drive to meet another friend from high school shortly before midnight in Borrego Park.
The friend said, Bernstein left his car and walked in the park alone, while he waited in his car for about an hour and attempted to contact Bernstein on Snapchat.
Around 1 a.m., the friend claimed that he left the park and drove to his girlfriend’s house about 30 minutes before you return to the park around 3:40 p.m. The friend said, Bernstein never responded to him on Snapchat.
On Jan. 4, according to The Mercury News, researchers spoke to the friend at Borrego Park and saw a small scratch on his hands with dirt under the nails.” The friend reportedly said he “fell in a puddle of dirt” when he was sparring as part of a “fight club” he was in.
IVY LEAGUE MURDER? UPENN STUDENT FOUND DEAD IN CALIFORNIA PARK; MURDER INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED
The friend allowed two detectives to search his car, where they allegedly found “hiking and camping equipment in the rear of the vehicle, a large empty plastic container in the back seat, and a black band on the front passenger floorboard.”
While the detectives told the friend the story of “remained relatively constant” as they continue to interview him at the sheriff’s headquarters in Santa Ana, he allegedly could not remember his girlfriend’s last name or where she lived. Detectives also said the friend avoided touching doors at the sheriff’s offices after an interview.
Gideon and Jeanne Bernstein, the parents of the missing teenager Blaze, pictured left, are connected by an Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Brad Valentine, right, during a news conference in Lake Forest, California, on Jan. 10.
(AP Photo/Amy Taxin)
“On their way of sheriff’s headquarters building (researchers), each door (the friend) had to hit on the way out of the building he pulled his jacket over his hand to prevent the hand and fingers from touching a part of the doors, he spoke,” the newspaper quoted the affidavit as saying.
Carrie Braun, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said at a news conference Wednesday that while no arrests have been made, deputies are “still on several leads.”
Bernstein’s body was found in the brush around Borrego Park after days of searching by rescue teams, with the help of drone pilots, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday. An autopsy was expected later in the day.
Bernstein was a pre-med student at the Ivy League University, who was back home in Lake Forest on winter break and reportedly expects to return to the campus on Sunday.
More than 300 people attended a vigil for Bernstein at the park Wednesday night.
Nicole Darrah cover breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.