Authorities said Monday that a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student whose body was found buried in a shallow grave in a California park had been stabbed more than 20 times. No weapon has been found.
The Orange County Register reports that authorities are investigating whether the killing was an act of rage.
Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said 20-year-old Samuel Lincoln Woodward was arrested and taken into custody Friday on suspicion of homicide after DNA evidence linked him to the death of college sophomore Blaze Bernstein.
Bernstein, who is Jewish, was home visiting his family in Lake Forest during winter break when Woodward picked him up on January 2 and drove with him to several places before winding up at the park.
Barnes said the two knew each other from high school.
Following Woodward’s arrest on Friday, Bernstein’s family posted a public message on a Facebook page that had been dedicated to finding him and now is dedicated to remembering him.
The message said, “In the midst of the Bernstein family’s grief, we are enormously grateful to local law enforcement and the countless volunteers for finding Blaze and ensuring that his killer is brought to justice.
“Words cannot express how grateful the family is to their community – here in Orange County and around the world, for expressing their love and support. Blaze wanted to make the world a better place. With his death, a great light has been extinguished and we encourage you to continue to shine his light, through Acts of Loving Kindness.
“We will continue to seek justice for Blaze, his family and our community. By honoring Blaze’s memory, you will help make this world a better place,” the message concluded.
An indictment is expected to be handed down later on Tuesday.