Editor’s note: The headline stated that Blaze Bernstein went to Penn State when he went to the University of Pennsylvania. The Epoch Times regrets this error.
A friend of a University of Pennsylvania student had scratches on his hands and dirt under his fingernails when police interviewed him, while blaming it on a “fight club,” officials said Thursday, Jan. 11.
The remains of Blaze Bernstein, 19, were discovered in Borrego Park in Orange County, California, on Tuesday. He went missing more than a week ago, according to reports.
Witnesses told investigators that he met up with a friend and both drove to Borrego Park. He got out of the car and disappeared into the woods and wasn’t heard from again. He tried to contact Bernstein via Snapchat and left around 1 a.m. before driving to his girlfriend’s house. When Bernstein didn’t respond, the friend went back to the park at around 3:40 a.m.
Two days after the teen disappeared, officials spoke with his friend again, noticing several small scratches and cuts on his hands. He claimed that the injuries were from a “fight club” that he was involved in, the Orange County Register reported.
The unnamed friend also said that he “fell into a dirt puddle.” He also was nervous and “breathing heavy, talking fast and visibly shaking,” according to the police report.
"What is so unusual about his disappearance is that everything was usual that night." Parents of #BlazeBernstein missing college student. The clues he left behind at 4/5/6 on @NBCLA #OC @OCSD pic.twitter.com/PMj4ceq40l
— Vikki Vargas (@VikkiNBCLA) January 5, 2018
The friend had attended Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana with Bernstein, according to the Orange County Register.
The report also noted that while leaving the sheriff’s headquarters, for “every door (the friend) had to touch on the way out of the building he pulled his jacket over his hand to prevent his hand and fingers from touching any part of the doors he touched,” according to the Register. It was also reported that the friend had camping equipment in his car.
He told investigators that Bernstein seemed depressed.
Officials said the friend is not in custody.
Detectives are investigating the case as a homicide.
During a press conference, his parents issued a statement, saying they were “devastated” by his death.
“Our family is devastated by the news. We — like so many of you around the world — love Blaze and wanted nothing more than his safe return,” said grieving dad Gideon Bernstein, reported the New York Post.
After he went missing, Bernstein became the subject of a widespread social media campaign to find him. Some celebrities, including Kobe Bryant, posted about the case.
hello anyone in the orange county, greater la area, etc, a boy named blaze bernstein has been missing since tuesday. he was also seen on the 241 toll road. PLS RT pic.twitter.com/WqObgBU7hc
— yerin (@donghyckie) January 6, 2018