Document: Dead gay victim's friend seemed nervous, had dirty nails

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Bad Decisions

Aug 24, 2018, 9:38:50 AM8/24/18
LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) — The friend of a 19-year-old
University of Pennsylvania student who was found dead in a
Southern California park appeared nervous while speaking with
authorities and had scratched up hands and dirt under his
fingernails, a sheriff's investigator said.

The investigator made the observations in a search warrant
affidavit related to the death of Blaze Bernstein, the Orange
County Register reported Thursday. Authorities said they were
investigating his death as a homicide but would not say how he
died. No arrests have been made or suspects named.

The friend said he went with Bernstein to a neighborhood park in
the city of Lake Forest on Jan. 2 to meet up with another friend
but stayed in the car, the Orange County sheriff's investigator
wrote in the document. He said he left about an hour later when
Bernstein did not return to the vehicle or respond on social

That was the last time Bernstein was reported to have been seen,
authorities said. His body was found Tuesday in brush
surrounding the park after days of searching by rescue teams,
with assistance from drone pilots.

Bernstein's death has rocked the tight-knit community 50 miles
(80 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. Several hundred
community members held a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening to
remember the college sophomore, who had been home visiting his
family on winter break.

In the affidavit, the investigator wrote that the friend said
the scratches on his hands and dirty nails were from a "fight
club" he was involved in.

The friend couldn't remember the last name of the girlfriend he
said he went to see later that night and avoided touching doors
at the sheriff's offices following an interview, the
investigator wrote.

"On their way out of sheriff's headquarters, (investigators)
noticed every door (the friend) had to touch on the way out of
the building he pulled his jacket over his hand to prevent his
hand and fingers from touching any part of the doors he
touched," the newspaper quoted the affidavit as saying.

A spokeswoman for Orange County Superior Court said the document
obtained by the newspaper was later placed under seal.

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