Authorities end search in wilderness area for UPenn student who vanished in California

Authorities have ended their search for a missing 19-year-old college student in a large wilderness area in Southern California after a search and rescue team found no clues there, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said Monday.

The spokeswoman, Carrie Braun, said the search for University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, who vanished on the night of Jan. 2, included two-dozen reserve deputies and lasted three days in Whiting Ranch Wilderness, a 2,500 acre park roughly an hour south of Los Angeles.

“They felt like they did an extensive search,” she said. “They didn’t find anything.”

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Blaze Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. on January 2nd at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, CA.


(Photo via Blaze It Forward/Facebook)

SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, appears in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Msgr. Wilbur Davis, of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach, explains to the media how Samuel Lincoln Woodward was named after Samuel in Bible and took communion two weeks ago. Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, left, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, appeared in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAKE FOREST, CA - JANUARY 10: The parents of Blaze Bernstein, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein and Gideon Bernstein, embrace prior to reading a family statement at a press conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Department in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 to announce that a body discovered in Borrego Park has been identified as their missing son Blaze Bernstein . (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Blaze Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. on January 2nd at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, CA.

(Photo via Blaze It Forward/Facebook)

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - AUGUST 22: Samuel Woodward leaves a court hearing at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, CA on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. Woodward is charged with the murder of his former high school classmate Blaze Bernstein in January, 2018. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
LAKE FOREST, CA - JANUARY 10: Mourners comfort each other as they join more that 300 people in Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 for a candlelight vigil for Blaze Bernstein. A make-shift memorial of photos, candles and flowers was setup on a picnic table near the spot where Bernstein's body was found. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, left, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, consults with his attorney Edward Munoz as he appears in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAKE FOREST, CA - JANUARY 10: A poster with the family photo of Blaze Bernstein was on display at a press conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Department in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 to announce that a body discovered in Borrego Park has been identified as missing teen Blaze Bernstein. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Attorney Edward Munoz, defense attorney for Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, is questioned by reporters after Woodward appeared in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAKE FOREST, CA - JANUARY 10: The parents of Blaze Bernstein, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein and Gideon Bernstein, left, read a family statement at a press conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Department in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Orange County Sheriff's Chief of Police Services Brad Valentine, right, listens to the statement about their son. A body discovered in Borrego Park has been identified as their missing son Blaze Bernstein. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Blaze Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. on January 2nd at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, CA.

(Photo via Blaze It Forward/Facebook)

SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, left, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, consults with his attorney Edward Munoz as he appears in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Blaze Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. on January 2nd at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, CA.

(Photo via Blaze It Forward/Facebook)

SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, right, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, consults with his attorney Edward Munoz as he appears in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Blaze Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. on January 2nd at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, CA.

(Photo via Blaze It Forward/Facebook)

LAKE FOREST, CA - JANUARY 10: A note with flowers at memorial set up for Blaze Bernstein in Borrego Park in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The memorial is near a wooded at the edge of the park that is thought to be the location where the body of Blaze Bernstein was found. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
#OCSDPIO: Search continues for missing 19 y.o., Blaze Bernstein. Approx 25 OCSD Reserve deputies searching the Whit… https://t.co/kjcSELPXJm

Blaze Bernstein was last seen around 11 p.m. on January 2nd at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, CA.


(Photo via Help Us Find Blaze Bernstein/Facebook)

IRVINE, CA - JANUARY 15: An woman overcome with emotion leaves the University Synagogue following the memorial service for Blaze Bernstein in Irvine on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
LAKE FOREST, CA - JANUARY 10: A wooded area at the edge of Borrego Park in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 is thought to be the location where the body of Blaze Bernstein was found. A memorial of balloons and flowers, left, was placed on a table near the site. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - JANUARY 17: Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, of Newport Beach, left, a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, consults with his attorney Edward Munoz as he appears in court at the Orange County Central Justice Center on January 17, 2018 in Santa Ana, California. Woodward is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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Braun said investigators would continue to pursue leads into Bernstein’s disappearance, though she declined to discuss details.

Bernstein, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, had been on winter break and visiting family in nearby Lake Forest when he went out with a friend on Tuesday night, a family lawyer, Annee Della Donna, told City News Service last week.

Della Donna, who did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Monday, said Bernstein and an unnamed friend drove to a park next to Whiting Ranch, where Bernstein was to meet with another unidentified person.

When Bernstein entered the park at 10:30 p.m. (1:30 a.m. ET), the friend remained in the car and waited, Della Donna said.

Bernstein never returned, she added, and his cell phone was switched off an hour later.

The teen is a sophomore who plans to pursue psychology with a minor in chemistry, his father, Gideon, told the news service.

"He was having a good time with us and in good spirits," Gideon said.

Authorities said Bernstein was last seen wearing a dark-colored jacket, a dark gray long-sleeve sip-up and white Adidas.

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