Chris Harris
January 12, 2018 03:54 PM

Investigators have yet to name a possible person of interest in the suspected homicide of California pre-med student Blaze Bernstein, whose dead body was found earlier this week. But a search warrant affidavit reportedly shows that the last person to see the 19-year-old alive at one point seemed nervous and was “breathing heavy, talking fast and visibly shaking” while speaking to investigators.

Multiple news reports citing the affidavit, which is now sealed, claim the unidentified friend told investigators he dropped off Bernstein in Borrego Park in Lake Forest, California, shortly before midnight on Jan. 2.

The document, obtained by the Orange County Register, alleges the friend had small scratches and abrasions on his hands two days later, when investigators returned to speak with him at the park. There was also dirt under his fingernails.

The Southern California News Group reports that, according to investigators’ statements in the affidavit, the friend explained away the scrapes on his hands by saying he was a member of a “fight club.”

The dirt got under his nails, he allegedly said, when he fell into a “dirt puddle” during a scuffle. It was at this point that detectives noted his nerves, according to the Register.

In addition, authorities state in the affidavit that the friend, a former high school classmate of Bernstein’s, said he went to see his girlfriend after dropping Bernstein off at the park, the Register reports. But in one interview he allegedly could not remember her last name or where she lived.

The affidavit reportedly claims Bernstein’s friend avoided touching any doors on his way out of sheriff’s headquarters following one interview, opening doors with his hands in his jacket pockets, according to News Group.

The affidavit noted the the friend’s account of what happened “stayed fairly consistent” after he agreed to be interviewed at the headquarters.

Carrie Braun, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, declined to discuss the affidavit with PEOPLE on Friday but did say there were no updates on the investigation.

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Blaze Bernnstein
Help Us Find Blaze Bernstein/Facebook

Bernstein’s family reported him missing on Jan. 3 after he didn’t make a dental appointment, authorities have said. He was home from the University of Pennsylvania on winter break and was scheduled to return to school the following Sunday.

The Register, again citing the affidavit, reports that the friend said he had met up with Bernstein to “catch up” the night of Jan. 2 after the two were messaging each other. According to the friend, Bernstein then said they were going to meet another high school friend in the park, the affidavit states.

The friend said he drove them over and waited in the car while Bernstein went into the park, according to the affidavit.

The friend allegedly told police he waited for about an hour before heading to his girlfriend’s house in Tustin, California, around 1 a.m. on Jan. 3. He said they returned to the park later to look for Blaze, about 3:40 a.m., the paper reports.

The friend also allegedly told police Bernstein complained about his grades in school and “seemed depressed but never said anything about wanting to hurt himself.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, law enforcement sources said they collected DNA evidence from the body and the scene, hoping it leads them to the killer. Three search warrants have been obtained in the investigation, the Times reports.

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From left: Blaze Bernstein's parents, Jeanne Pepper and Gideon Bernstein at a news conference on Wednesday, after their son's body was found
Leonard Ortiz/The Orange County Register via ZUMA Wire

Authorities have not commented on how Bernstein was killed and a cause of death has not been released, though Braun said, “based off what they found at the scene,” they believe it was a homicide.

Detectives think Bernstein died the night he vanished. His family reportedly lived within minutes of the park where his body was found on Tuesday afternoon.

Bernstein’s parents spoke to reporters earlier this week, after their son’s body was discovered.

“Blaze was a brilliant, colorful, and charismatic man who shined light on all of the lives of the people and communities he touched. Needless to say, our family is devastated by the news,” Gideon Bernstein said on Wednesday, alongside wife Jeanne Pepper.

“We — like so many of you around the world — love Blaze and wanted nothing more than his safe return,” Gideon said.

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