Missing Teen Blaze Bernstein Found Dead — And The Search Warrant Details What They Found On The Friend Who Dropped Him Off

Photo: NBC
Blaze Bernstein dead search warrant

He was missing for five days.

The body of a missing Pennsylvania college student was found in a California Park, the Orange County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday on Facebook. 

Blaze Bernstein, 19, went missing for five days while visiting his family on winter break in California. On Tuesday, his body was found in the brush surrounding Borrego Park, where was he was last seen being dropped off by a friend. 

Police said they're investigating the teen's death as a homicide and an autopsy is currently being performed to determine Blaze's cause of death. The condition of his body or any other information about how he was found isn't being released by officials at this time. 

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While there are no suspects in custody, police are saying they're following multiple leads. One of those presumably being the unknown person Blaze told his friend he was meeting in the park around 11 p.m. Jan. 2.

According to Annee Della Donna, an attorney and family friend, the person who drove Blaze to the park waited for him, but when Blaze stopped returning messages, they left. They later returned around 4 a.m. to look for him. Blaze's cell phone was turned off an hour after he disappeared. 

"The only thing I can think of is that maybe he was abducted," Jeanne Bernstein said on Sunday. "I can't figure out why anybody would want to hurt my son."

According to The Orange County Register the friend — who was the last known person to see Blaze alive — appeared nervous while being interviews by detectives. He is reportedly a friend of Blaze's from high school, and he spoke on Snapchat prior to meeting up. 

Police said they believe the teenager was killed the night he disappeared, and though search teams combed the park for days, they couldn't find the body until it was uncovered by a rainstorm Tuesday evening. 

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According to a search warrant affidavit, after Blaze met up with his friend in the parking lot of a Hobby Lobby, Blaze told him they were going to meet up with another friend from high school. 

Two days after the teen has disappeared, police spoke again with the friend and noticed that his hands had several small scratches and abrasions on them. He claimed he got the injuries from a "fight club" he's in. 

Investigators also noticed dirt under his fingernails. He told them that he "fell into a dirt puddle" during a sparring session.  

According to the affidavit, this same friend also had hiking and camping equipment in his car, as well as a large, empty plastic bin on the backseat and a black belt on the passenger seat floorboard. So far, detectives say his story has been consistent, however, he could not remember the last name or home address of the girlfriend he claimed to have been with after he left Blaze in the park. 

“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 document read.

The sheriff's department has not commented on the affidavit and has not released the name of the friend. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).