The last person to see University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein alive was visibly nervous upon being interrogated by police about the mysterious death and had scratches on his hands, The Mercury News reported.
The information comes from an affidavit in the case, which is being investigated as a potential homicide.
The body of Bernstein, 19, was found Tuesday in Borrego Park in Lake Forest, California after the pre-med student went missing more than a week prior on January 2. Sheriff’s officials would not say the condition in which the body was discovered.
“They’re still following up on multiple leads,” said Carrie Braun, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, in a press conference. No arrests have been made in the case.
“We have just learned that the O.C. Sheriff’s Department and coroner’s office has confirmed our family’s worst fears and have positively identified our son Blaze’s body,” said Gideon Bernstein, Blaze’s father, in a press conference. “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.”
In the affidavit, an unnamed friend who attended high school with Blaze Bernstein allegedly said he spoke to Bernstein on Snapchat the night he disappeared.
The friend said Bernstein asked him to drive him to Borrego Park. The friend agreed, and when the pair arrived, Bernstein left the car and walked into the park.
The friend said he waited in the car for an hour for Bernstein to come back, but he didn’t, even after the friend contacted him on Snapchat. He then claimed he drove to his girlfriend’s house before returning to the park at 3:40 to wait again for Bernstein.
The friend claimed he didn’t remember his girlfriend’s last name and didn’t know where she lived.
He also said that Bernstein “seemed depressed but never said anything about wanting to hurt himself.”
In a later interview, police noticed that the friend’s hands had a few small scratches and other marks. The friend claimed it was from a “fight club” he was in.
Police also asked him about dirt under his fingernails, and the friend said he “fell into a dirt puddle” during a fight at one point.
Police said the friend was “breathing heavy, talking fast and visibly shaking.”
And “on their way out of Sheriff’s Headquarters, [investigators] noticed 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,” the affidavit said.
Still, the friend’s story “stayed fairly consistent,” police said.
Bernstein was visiting family over winter break and was headed back to his east coast school on Sunday, Fox News said.
Investigators have not yet released the results of an autopsy performed on Berstein’s body on Wednesday.
Detectives have obtained three search warrants in the case, including at a Newport Beach home, the LA Times reported. The same report said police have obtained DNA evidence from Bernstein’s body and the crime scene.
[Image: Orange County Sheriff’s Office]