A Penn student from Orange County, California has been missing for three days, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
College sophomore Blaze Bernstein, 19, went missing on Jan. 2, Tuesday, the Orange County Sheriff's Department wrote in a public post, just days before the start of second semester classes. Bernstein, who was home for winter break, was last seen entering a park in the Lake Forest area of Orange County at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He has not been heard from since.
"Witnesses said he met up with a friend and the two drove to Borrego Park, where the teen exited the vehicle and entered the park," an Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesperson said to local news outlets.
Spokesperson of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Gale Cross did not respond to immediate request for comment.
To consolidate search efforts for Bernstein, the student's father, Gideon Bernstein, has set up a public Facebook page to gather information.
"Just to demystify some of the comments you may have heard: He is considered a missing person," the elder Bernstein wrote in a post on Jan. 5. "He was with a high school friend prior to his disappearance and we believe he was planning to come back home that night since he left his wallet and glasses at home. There is no clear motive and he was in good spirits that evening."
Bernstein was recently elected to be the managing editor of Penn Appetit, the student-run magazine on food at Penn. Penn Appetit Business Manager and College sophomore Kate Kassin said Bernstein had not been responding to messages in their new board-wide group chat.
“He was very excited about [the magazine]," Bernstein's father said. "He was working on that over the winter break and showed us the magazine they just published, which he significantly contributed to.”
Annee Della Donna, an attorney and friend of the Bernstein family made similar remarks to CBS Los Angeles.
“He was on the Internet that night buying things,” Della Donna said. “It all points to a kid who was not depressed, who was happy and wanted to go back to school.”
Della Donna also added that some witnesses say they saw someone matching Bernstein’s height and weight walking along the southbound lanes of the 241 toll road in the disabled car lane at about 5:40 a.m. on Jan. 3.
College sophomore and writer for 34th Street Amy Marcus said she and Bernstein met during New Student Orientation and "have been pretty much best friends ever since."
"We share a circle of friends for the most part," Marcus said. "We’ve all been sort of frenzied and trying to speculate what might have happened, and there’s no way for us to know what went on, but we’ve all just been trying to take our guesses and calm our nerves a little bit."
"The thing that struck all of us the most was the sighting of him on the highway. I don't know, it’s mostly just been a conversation of worry and concern just hoping that he’s going to make it back okay," she added.
Apart from Penn Appetit, he was involved in the Vagelos Molecular Life Sciences program during his freshman year. Bernstein is listed as a copy associate for Penn Review, Penn's literary magazine.
Last semester, Bernstein also wrote a guest column in The Daily Pennsylvanian criticizing the University's implementation of recommendations from its Task Force for a Safe and Responsible Campus Community. He was also recently hired as a copy associate for 34th Street Magazine.
This is a breaking story and was last updated at 5:55 p.m. Please reach out to Executive Editor Rebecca Tan at email@example.com if you have any information on the story.
Anyone with information on Bernstein's whereabouts is urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 714-647-7000.