Body Found In Park ID’d As Missing Jewish College Student Blaze Bernstein


YWN regrets to reform you, the body of a 19-year-old man found in Borrego Park in Lake Forest has been identified as missing student Blaze Bernstein, and his death is being investigated as a homicide, ABC 7 reports.

On Tuesday afternoon, at approximately 2 p.m., a search of the Foothill Ranch Park was initiated by Orange County sheriff’s investigators. Bernstein’s body was discovered in the brush surrounding the park.

As reported on YWN, Bernstein was visiting family while on winter break from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a pre-med student. On Tuesday, January 2, he went with a friend to Borrego Park at around 9:30PM to meet another person, for unknown reasons. He was last seen around 11 PM that day, when he walked further into the park and never came back. His phone stopped working about an hour later, his parents told reporters on Friday. He was supposed to fly back to the East Coast on Sunday to start classes again.

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.

Officials confirmed the case is being investigated as a homicide, and an autopsy will be performed Wednesday.

No additional information regarding the cause of death or the condition of the body was immediately released.

Sheriff’s investigators are actively following multiple leads, but no suspect is in custody.

Blaze’s parents, Gideon and Jeanne Bernstein said that their son left their Lake Forest home that night without a word to either of them.

“I feel like we’ve explored everything that we could in regard to what happened. But all that we really know is that he ran off into the wilderness and we don’t know why,” his mother said.

The investigation into this case is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.

(Nat Golden – YWN)


  1. While they were still searching his father wrote this:
    January 9, 2018
    A Note from the Bernstein Family.

    Its time to get raw tonight, it is night 8 and we are still looking for him. We never expected to get so much publicity and help from our friends, family and generous strangers doing pure acts of loving kindness. All of this generated in hopes of supporting the efforts to find our son.

    Our son is named after his grandfathers (Chaim and Nathan) and the genius 1600’s child prodigy, mathematician & writer, Blaise Pascal (how fitting). Pascal once said “Don’t try to add more years to your life. Better add more life to your years.”

    Many of us are feeling helpless in knowing what to do or how to help to make a real difference in the search for Blaze tonight. So what can we do? Lets make a difference in someone else’s life. Please donate to Orangewood Foundation, who’s mission is to prepare foster and community youth to reach their greatest potential. Make a difference in someone else’s life. This would be an honor for Blaze and his strength to get through this.

  2. After he was found hisDad said those who wish to carry on his son’s memory can make a donation to the Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County

  3. Student of Torah- in cases of homicide it is considered for the kavod of the niftar to do an autopsy since it will help bring justice to his killer. Being as the body was hidden in the brush it doesn’t seem to be a suicide. I don’t want to cause people pain by reminding specific names but in previous cases where homicide victims were jewish autopsies were performed as well.

  4. BDE. How terrible.

    And Student of Torah??!!, of course an autopsy must be performed. There may be a killer wandering around, and an autopsy could help find him/her. This is a matter of pikuach nefesh and that is docheh the minor problem with performing autopsies. Look it up!

  5. To Student of Torah – first, it’s likely that the family is unfortunately not aware that autopsies are generally asur. Second, you might be unaware that in special cases poskim sometimes permit autopsies, such as when we are attempting to identify a killer. Aish HaTorah has a very good article about autopsies by R’ Dr. Daniel Eisenberg, which mentions some of this. You can find several other thorough and well-written articles on the internet about autopsies in halacha, which discuss occasional exceptions. Yehi ratzon that we should never need to ask such shaylose.