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11 January 2018, 09:25 | Darnell Patrick
Source Orange County Sheriff's Department
A week after he vanished in the area, the body of a University of Pennsylvania student was found Tuesday in a Southern California park - prompting investigators to launch a homicide investigation into the 19-year-old's death.
The body of Blaze N. Bernstein was discovered during a search effort Tuesday afternoon in some brush surrounding Borrego Park, the Orange County Sheriff's Department confirmed.
Bernstein drove to the park with a friend around 11 p.m. on January 2 to meet another friend, his parents previously said.
Several search operations were conducted over the week for Bernstein after his parents reported him missing to the Orange County Sheriff department.
An autopsy was set to be performed Wednesday. Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, explained that Bernstein's disappearance is still an active missing person case.
At a news conference, after his body was found, Gideon said the family is "devastated", and called Bernstein "a brilliant, colorful and charismatic man".
"The use of drones to help find Bernstein and other missing people is just one form of new technology law enforcement is using to do their jobs", said former FBI Agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett.
Authorities would not say how the college sophmore died or whether the friend he was with that night is a suspect but so far no arrests have been made.
Eventually, the location device on Bernstein's phone stopped functioning and the phone was turned off, Della Donna said."He didn't have anything with him, " she said.
His father, Gideon Bernstein, said his son was a sophomore planning to declare a major in psychology with a minor in chemistry and was "pursuing it with a pre-med focus". The friend said he left and returned hours later to search for Bernstein. "He didn't have his glasses or his medication".
ABC7 reported that he was reported missing by his family the next day.
"The only thing I can think of is that maybe he was abducted", the newspaper reported Bernstein's mother Jeanne saying on Sunday.
Authorities declined to release additional information.
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