Some 850 people turned up to remember Blaze Bernstein, the college student whose body was found in a California park last week, at his funeral as gory details have emerged in the case.
The University of Pennsylvania pre-med student was stabbed some 20 times in what police are reportedly calling a possible "act of rage," according to the Orange County Register.
Bernstein was remembered at a funeral held Monday at the University Synagogue, where he was remembered as a humorous and inspiring young man with a love of cooking.
A recipe for a rum-pineapple upside-down cake, which he baked for his family on New Year's Eve, was reportedly passed out to funeral attendees Monday along with mini-spatulas.
Samuel Woodward, 20, who attended high school with Bernstein, was arrested Friday and held in the Orange County Jail on suspicion of homicide after police say they found traces of the victim's blood on a sleeping bag in Woodward's car.
The arrest affidavit reportedly includes details suggesting Bernstein was interested in pursuing a sexual relationship with Woodward, the OC Register reported.
Bernstein and Woodward parked on Jan. 2 outside a Hobby Lobby in Lake Forest during a late night meeting, according to the affidavit. Woodward reportedly told investigators that Bernstein kissed him on the lips, and that he pushed him away.
The OC Register also reports Bernstein had texted friends in June that Woodward was about to "hit on" him and that he "texted every one, uh oh."
Search warrants indicated that Woodward told police Bernstein said they were going to meet another friend from high school and they arrived at the Borrego Park parking area shortly before midnight on Jan. 2.
Woodward told police Bernstein walked into the park and never came back, and that he waited for about an hour before leaving to meet his girlfriend.
Woodward said he returned to the park several hours later but couldn’t find Bernstein.
Cops say Woodward was unable to recall his girlfriend’s last name or address, police reportedly said in the search warrants.
During his interview, police say Woodward had dirt under his fingernails that he claimed he got from a fall into “a dirt puddle,” according to reports. He also had several cuts and scratches he said he got from a “fight club,” the search warrants said.
The pre-med student’s death left his family, friends and the community that knew him devastated, loved ones said.
“Blaze was a brilliant, colorful and charismatic man who shined light on all of the lives of the people and communities that he touched,” his father, Gideon Bernstein, said at an emotional press conference shortly after authorities announced they had found his eldest child’s body. “Our family is devastated by the news. We, like so many of you around the world, love Blaze and wanted nothing more than his safe return.”
After Bernstein vanished, worried loved ones gathered for candlelight vigils and appealed to celebrities to spread the word of his disappearance on social media.
Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Piven, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mayim Bialik were among those who posted on Facebook and Twitter in an effort to locate Bernstein.
“We want to thank all of you who so generously gave of your hearts, time, and energy to help us in the search for Blaze over this past week,” the Bernstein family said in a statement. “Our family sends you all of our endless love and thanks for what you have done... We are incredibly appreciative of all the love, help and support we have received from family, friends, our community and from those around the country and throughout the world. We are thankful to law enforcement for their hard work and effort.”
The Bernstein family asked that anyone wishing to honor their son’s memory make a contribution to the Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County.
“This money will be given to the Orangewood Foundation and other organizations that help children and families in need,” the family said.