Body found in Borrego Park identified as missing college student

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The body of a 19-year-old man found in Borrego Park has been identified as missing student Blaze Bernstein, and his death is being investigated as a homicide.

The body of a 19-year-old man found in Borrego Park has been identified as missing student Blaze Bernstein, and his death is being investigated as a homicide, according to Orange County sheriff's officials Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, at approximately 2 p.m., a search of the park in Lake Forest was initiated by sheriff's investigators. Bernstein's body was discovered in the brush, officials said.


Bernstein, a University of Pennsylvania student, was last seen entering Borrego Park at about 11 p.m. on Jan. 2 by a friend who was with him at the time. He was reported missing by his family the next day.

Approximately 25 members of the sheriff's department's search and rescue team surveyed the park and adjacent wilderness area Whiting Ranch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Officials confirmed the case is being investigated as a homicide, and an autopsy will be performed Wednesday.

No additional information regarding the cause of death or the condition of the body was immediately released.


Sheriff's investigators are actively following multiple leads, but no suspect is in custody.

According to a Facebook post by Bernstein's father, Gideon, the sophomore was scheduled to fly back to Pennsylvania Sunday to return to school. "We know Blaze would have loved to be on that flight back to school," Gideon Bernstein wrote.

Gideon and Jeanne Bernstein said that their son left their Lake Forest home that night without a word to either of them.

"I feel like we've explored everything that we could in regard to what happened. But all that we really know is that he ran off into the wilderness and we don't know why," his mother said.

The investigation into this case is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 714-647-7000. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.

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