After an exhaustive, almost weeklong search that included the use of drones, officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Department confirmed Wednesday that they recovered Bernstein's body the previous day, in some brush on the outskirts of the park. He was last seen on January 2 around 11 p.m. local time (2 a.m. EST) at a park in the city of Lake Forest.
Blaze apparently met with a friend last Tuesday and they drove to Borrego Park, where Blaze got out of the vehicle at around 11 PM and went into the park. That's when he vanished. Authorities had said earlier this week that they did not consider his friend a suspect.
His parents, Jeanne Pepper and Gideon Bernstein, immediately launched a Facebook group called "Help Us Find Blaze Bernstein" hoping to find out what happened to their son and bring him home.
An autopsy is set for Wednesday. Officials were withholding further information about his body and the condition in which it was found until after the examination.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department had been searching for Bernstein since he was reported missing.
Police searched the park for several days before finding Bernstein when heavy rainfall washed his body partially out of the brush, ABC News reported.
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LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) - The body of a University of Pennsylvania student who went missing while home in Southern California on winter break has been found at a park and his death is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said on Wednesday. Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, explained that Bernstein's disappearance is still an active missing person case. He said that when he returned from going to the bathroom, Bernstein was gone.
Bernstein did not take his keys, wallet, credit cards, medication or eyeglasses when he left his parents' house to meet the friend, and did not say goodbye, his father told the Los Angeles Times.
Eventually, the location device on Bernstein's phone, which he had borrowed from a relative, stopped functioning and the phone was turned off at 11:30 p.m.
Approximately 25 members of the sheriff's department search and rescue team surveyed the park and adjacent wilderness area Whiting Ranch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. "I don't think he planned on this being a long trip and he just disappeared".
Authorities are not considering the friend as a suspect in the case.
Blaze, he said, was planning to declare a major in psychology with a minor in chemistry and "pursuing it with a pre-med focus".