Editor’s note: This story was updated on Jan. 16, 2018, to include new information
Police in California have arrested 20-year-old Samuel Woodward of Newport Beach in connection with the murder of University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein. Authorities say DNA evidence linked Woodward, who was the last person to see Bernstein alive, to the killing. Bernstein was reportedly stabbed more than two dozen times.
— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSD) January 13, 2018
The pair knew each other from high school, according to multiple reports, before Bernstein left to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes Woodward was the last person to see Bernstein alive, according to a report from CBS Philadelphia.
According to investigators, Woodward was interviewed in connection with the case and appeared nervous during the discussion, had scratched hands and dirt under his fingernails, and avoided touching doors with his hands while leaving the sheriff’s building.
Authorities believe that the pair met up at some point last Tuesday and drove to several places before ending up at Borrego Park, where Bernstein’s body was discovered in a shallow grave on Jan. 9. It’s believed the two exchanged messages on Snapchat the day of the killing. According to reports from the Orange County Register, Bernstein may have been interested in a relationship with Woodward.
“With his death, a beautiful light has been extinguished and we encourage you to continue to shine his light, through acts of loving kindness,” the Bernstein family said in a statement read by their attorney.