Missing UPenn student found dead, homicide suspected

iStock/Thinkstock(BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif.) -- A University of Pennsylvania student who mysteriously disappeared in California last week has now been found dead -- and his death is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said Wednesday.

The body of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein was found around 2 p.m. Tuesday in the brush surrounding Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch -- the park where he disappeared a week earlier, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said. The body was found during a search of the park initiated by sheriff’s investigators, the sheriff's office said.

Bernstein, who had been home in Southern California for winter break, met with a friend last Tuesday and the two drove to Borrego Park, witnesses told the sheriff's department. Bernstein apparently got out of the car about 11 p.m. and went into the park, the sheriff's department said. That's when he vanished and hasn't been heard from since. The park area was searched Friday, Saturday and Sunday to no avail.

An autopsy will be performed Wednesday, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities did not release the cause of death or the condition of the body.

"Sheriff’s investigators are actively following multiple leads, but no suspect is in custody," the sheriff's office said.

Authorities had said earlier this week that they did not consider the friend a suspect.

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