This story will be updated as details become available.
Bernstein, authorities have said, disappeared late on the evening of Jan. 2 after he and a friend went to a park in the Foothill Ranch area of Lake Forest to “hang out.” His body was found in brush Tuesday after a search lasting nearly a week.
Bernstein attended the Orange County High School of the Arts for creative writing. At Penn, he worked at Kelly Writers House, a center at Penn for creative writers and artists, and was on the editorial board for the Penn Review, the university’s literary magazine, and was managing editor of the student-run food magazine Penn Appétit.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun said that the suspect was taken into custody Friday, and that a news conference would be held later this evening outlining details of the case. She did not identify the suspect or provide any other details.
Earlier this week, the Orange County Register, citing an affidavit it had obtained, published details about what the friend told investigators during an interview on Jan. 4. The friend said he and Bernstein drove to the park around 11 p.m., and soon after Bernstein entered the park by himself.
The Register also reported that detectives noticed that the friend’s hands had several small scratches and abrasions, and that he had dirt under his fingernails. The friend said the scratches were from a “fight club” he was involved in, and that he had fallen into a dirt puddle. The affidavit says the friend was nervous and “breathing heavy, talking fast and visibly shaking,” according to the newspaper.
The friend said that after about an hour he tried to contact Bernstein on Snapchat, but got no response. The friend said he left around 1 a.m. When Bernstein still hadn’t responded after a couple of hours, the friend said he returned to the park around 3:40 a.m. to search for him.
The death rocked the Penn campus and the tight-knit Orange County community where the victim lived.