Samuel Lincoln Woodward is being held on suspicion of the murder of U-Penn student, Blaze Bernstein. Suspect claims murder victim had been ‘hitting on him’.
Samuel Lincoln Woodward a 20 year old Santa Ana, California man suspected in the murder of 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein who was stabbed nearly two dozen times and buried in a shallow grave at a California park has told investigators that he was ‘being hit on’.
Samuel Woodward, 20, was arrested and taken into custody Friday on suspicion of homicide after DNA evidence linked him to the death of the U-Penn college sophomore, Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.
At the time of his arrest, Barnes said the victim’s blood was found on Woodward’s sleeping bag.
It wasn’t immediately revealed what communications, if any had been recovered between the two men.
The Orange County Register reported Bernstein being stabbed more than 20 times. To date, no murder weapon has been found.
Carrie Braun, a public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, would not confirm if Blaze 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.’
Had Blaze Bernstein planned on ‘sexually pursuing’ Samuel Lincoln Woodward?
A 16-page search warrant affidavit indicates Bernstein may have been planning to sexually pursue Woodward.
Bernstein texted two female friends about a June interaction with Woodward, according to the affidavit. Bernstein wrote that Woodward was about to ‘hit on me’ and ‘he made me promise not to tell anyone.’
Bernstein was home visiting his family in Lake Forest during winter break when Woodward picked him up on Jan. 2 and drove with him to several places before winding up at a park.
The two knew each other from high school, Barnes said.
The affidavit also noted that Woodward saying that Bernstein kissed him on the lips at a stop before the park, and that he pushed Bernstein away.
The affidavit cited Woodward clenched his jaw and his fists, saying ‘he wanted to tell Blaze to get off of him.’
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.
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. He also said told investigators that he returned to the park to look for Bernstein hours later. However, according to the affidavit, Woodward could not remember his girlfriend’s last name or where she lived.
Of note, a regard of the jail’s website were Woodward was being held in custody listed his occupation as ‘Nerf games’.
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 has since un-eased the community of Lake Forest, 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. Hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil to remember him.
It was the only homicide reported in Lake Forest in the last four years.
The kindness of strangers astounds me. These beautiful stones were placed all around a tree near where my son Blaze’s body was found. I know people are good. The world is still a good place. pic.twitter.com/gEjwN01zku
— Jeanne Pepper (@bernsteinmom) January 13, 2018
if you’re fixating on the fact that Blaze Bernstein was gay you’re an actual demon. a boy was killed, a boy with dreams and aspirations and y’all are all stigmatizing him for using a hookup app?
— Yusuf (@EasternInsomnia) January 13, 2018
If any of you are following the story about Blaze Bernstein, the 19 y/o missing in California, it all is very sad. It sounds to me like he was going to meet a Grindr hook up and something went wrong. I could be way off but it’s a reminder to be careful who you trust on apps.
— Denver Gay (@WhatDoIStand4) January 8, 2018