LAKE FOREST (CBSLA) — Dozens of family and friends gathered to remember 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein. His picture was surrounded by candles in Borrego Park where he was last seen and not far from where his body was found near Foothill Ranch Park.

“He was really incredible.  He loved life, he loved people, and he will be missed,” a family friend said.

The University of Pennsylvania sophomore was home in Lake Forest for winter break when investigators say eight days ago he went with a high school friend to the park.  That friend said Bernstein went into the darkness alone and never came back. Investigators say he likely knew his killer.

Investigators and volunteers searched for days until Tuesday when Orange County sheriff’s say the recent rain helped reveal his body.

His father spoke at a press conference Wednesday with his distraught mother by his side.


“Needless to say our family is devastated by the news,” Gideon Bernstein said. “We like so many around the world loved Blaze, and we wanted nothing more than to seek his safe return.”

Investigators say they’ve interviewed that friend but so far there have been no arrests in the case but they are investigating this as a homicide.

“He was blessed with the power of storytelling and if he were here he would also be able to make a beautiful story out of this,” a friend said.

As friends try to cope with their loss, some hoped a Hebrew proverb would help give them comfort: “Say not in grief he is no more but in thankfulness that he was. Amen.”

According to an affidavit obtained by the Orange County Register, when detectives interviewed the friend who brought him to the park they say he had cuts and abrasions on his hands and dirt under his nails. When asked about that he told them it was because of a fight club he belongs to.

  1. Bandslee Lee says:

    The friend, who saw him last, has cuts on his hands and dirt under his nails. Did they sample the dirt for comparison or to check for blood? He belongs to a fight club and “never talk about fight club” – this is sketchy AF if you ask me.

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