Report: UPenn Student Stabbed at Least 20 Times

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
January 16, 2018USshare
Report: UPenn Student Stabbed at Least 20 Times
In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, Gideon and Jeanne Bernstein, parents of missing teen Blaze Bernstein, pictured at left, are joined by Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Brad Valentine, right, during a news conference in Lake Forest, Calif. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin, file)

SANTA ANA, Calif.—A 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student was killed after being stabbed nearly two dozen times and buried in a shallow grave at a California park, a newspaper reported.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, was arrested and taken into custody Friday on suspicion of homicide after DNA evidence linked him to the death of, Blaze Bernstein, a college sophomore, Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.

The Orange County Register reported that Bernstein was stabbed more than 20 times. No weapon has been found.

Carrie Braun, a public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, would not confirm to The Associated Press if Bernstein was stabbed, but said “the condition of the body at the time it was discovered turned it from a missing person to a homicide immediately.”

NTD Photo
This undated file photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department shows Blaze Bernstein. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department via AP, file)

The two knew each other from high school, Barnes said.

Woodward was interviewed by investigators after Bernstein was reported missing by his parents on Jan. 3.

A sheriff’s investigator wrote in court filings that Woodward appeared nervous, had scratched hands and dirt under his fingernails, and avoided touching doors with his hands while leaving the sheriff’s office building.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward (Orange County Sheriff’s Department)
Samuel Lincoln Woodward. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Woodward also told investigators that Bernstein walked into the park alone and then he waited for Bernstein for an hour before driving to meet with a girlfriend, the Register reported. He also told investigators that he returned to the park to look for Bernstein hours later. However, according to a 16-page search warrant affidavit obtained by The Orange County Register, Woodward could not remember his girlfriend’s last name or where she lived.

It was not immediately possible to reach Woodward in custody, where he listed his occupation as “Nerf games,” according to the jail’s website.

Authorities searched for Bernstein for nearly a week with assistance from drone pilots and found his body on Tuesday after recent rains partially exposed it.

The death of Bernstein rocked the community of Lake Forest, 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil to remember him.

It was the only homicide reported in Lake Forest in at least the past four years, according to authorities.

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