The body of college student Blaze Bernstein has been discovered after an exhaustive search had been executed following his disappearance. Now, information about the case is slowly being revealed.
Bernstein vanished after allegedly meeting with a friend at Borrego Park in Southern California at around 11pm on January 2nd. He had been home from school for winter break. The friend who was with him before the disappearance is not being considered a suspect in the case.
Amateur drone users were offering assistance in the search for Bernstein.
"It's going to take a lot of time to go through all the data they collected." said Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, Blaze's mother. "We are only just beginning. The world is a big place and we are hunting aggressively for answers."
"The only thing I can think of is that maybe he was abducted," Jeanne had said to NBC. "I can't figure out why anybody would want to hurt my son."
"The fact that he didn't tell us he was going out tells us that he wasn't planning to be gone very long," Jeanne added to CBS.
Blaze had not responded to text messages from friends.
"He didn't have anything with him," said Della Donna, a friend of Blaze's."He didn't have his glasses or his medication. He didn't bring his wallet or a phone charger. I don't think he planned on this being a long trip and he just disappeared."
A handful of celebrities including Kobe Bryant, Mayim Bialik and Jeremy Piven had shared social media posts in the hopes of locating the student.
At around 1pm on January 10th, a body was discovered and postively identifed as that of Bernstein's. An autopsy was performed on Wednesday, but the results have not yet been released. Information about the condition of the body is also not being released at this time, nor is information about suspected persons.
According to CBS, the death is currently being investigated as a homicide.
"Based on what we know, I believe Blaze was probably killed that night," said Lt. Brad Valentine, the chief of police services for the City of Lake Forest, at a Wednesday press conference.
Police are now considering evidence that would suggest Bernstein was on his way to meet up with a third friend before vanishing.
“There has kind of been some rumors about them meeting a third person,” says Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “I don’t have specific information on that. At this point, the best thing to say is our investigators are actively following up on every lead that they can that will lead to an arrest of a suspect in this case.”
Before his death, Blaze was a pre-med student and the managing editor of Penn Appétit, a food magazine at the University of Pennsylvania, according to People.
“He was very excited about that,” said Blaze's father, Gideo Bernstein. “He was working on that over the winter break and showed us the magazine they just published, which he significantly contributed to.”
“Needless to say, 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,” Gideon added.
Contributions to the Bernstein family in honor of Blaze's memorial fund can be offered through the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County. Donations will be distributed to the Orangewood Foundation and other charitable organizations.
[Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Office]