It’s the mysterious death that’s gripped the country — mostly thanks to some major social media push from LA’s biggest celebs — but new information might point to a clear suspect.
19-year old University of Pennslyvania student Blaze Bernstein was found dead after a week-long search in a park in Orange County, California. While Carrie Braun, a representative from the Sheriff’s Department, hasn’t let out much information about the case yet, she did confirm that a homicide investigation is underway — although no suspects have officially been announced.
But public opinion has already turned against an unnamed "friend" from Bernstein’s high school who was apparently with Blaze the night of his disappearance.
According to a now-public affidavit from the sheriff’s office, the friend says he spoke to Blaze that night on Snapchat and agreed to pick him up. They began the evening by going to a store parking lot to hang out. That friend then claims Blaze then wanted to drive to a local park to meet another friend; they arrived there around midnight, at which point Blaze left the vehicle and walked into the park alone.
The friend waited for an hour and tried to contact Blaze via Snapchat again, but after getting no response, he left to visit his girlfriend’s house for a few hours. He then returned back to the park around 3:40 a.m., still having not heard a peep from Blaze.
The disappearance was first reported after Blaze failed to show up for a dental appointment the next day. Authorities then spoke to the friend multiple times, which is where things got sketchy…
Remember that girlfriend the friend left to visit? Well, during the first interview, the friend couldn’t remember her last name, according the investigators. He also said that Blaze “seemed depressed, but never said anything about wanting to hurt himself.”
Authorities met with the friend again two days later at the same park where Blaze went missing (and was eventually found). This time, the friend was noticeably shaking and nervous, and had scratches on his hands and dirt under his nails. He explained this away by claiming he was — wait for it — in a fight club.
Then they all went back to the station, where the friend repeated his story, but now claimed he didn’t know his girlfriend’s last name nor where she lived. And then, on his way out of the station, officers noticed that he was taking special care not to leave his fingerprints on anything by pulling his sleeves over his hands whenever he touched doorknobs.
All of this was only just revealed very recently, almost simultaneously with the discovery of the body. Blaze’s father addressed the media after the news broke, saying, “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. 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.”
Thanks to the massive amount of media attention the case has received, partially driven by people like Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Piven, Kareem-Abdul Kabbar and other celebs posting about it, the internet has gone into amateur detective mode. Given these recent revelations about the still-anonymous friend’s behavior, the court of public opinion has already decided:
Again, no charges have been announced by the authorities, nor even a cause of death. So to stress, all of this is just speculation for now.
Our hearts go out to the Bernstein family.