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Ivy League College Student From O.C. Vanishes After Going to Meet Friend at Park in Foothill Ranch

A 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student who came home to Orange County for winter break has been reported missing after he never returned from a visit to Borrego Park, authorities said Friday.

Blaze Bernstein is seen in a family photo.

Blaze Bernstein is seen in a family photo.

Blaze Bernstein was last seen about 11 p.m. Tuesday after he entered the park, which is located in the Foothill Ranch community of Lake Forest, according to a news release from the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Bernstein drove to the park -- located near the Foothill Ranch Library -- with another friend, according to a witness. He exited the vehicle, went into the park and mysteriously vanished.

His parents, who pleaded publicly for their son's safe return at a news conference on Friday, came up with a timeline based on his cellphone record.

Around 10:30 p.m., they said, Bernstein texted his address to a friend, who came to the home and picked him up.

They drove to Borrego Park together, where they were going to meet up with another friend. While the first friend waited near a restroom, Bernstein walked toward the park to meet the other friend.

About an hour later, he sent a final text to a female friend, and then his phone apparently stopped working. The friend who picked him up said he never returned, and he left.

Bernstein's parents said he didn't have his ID, wallet, money, credit cards or glasses with him, leading them to believe their son was only expecting to be there for a short time.

They reported him missing the next day.

"I do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved. Blaze had zero tolerance for this," said his mother, Jeanne Pepper-Bernstein.

Authorities began investigating Thursday, but they haven't said whether the teen may have been the victim of the crime.

"We're referring to this as a missing person's case at this point, strictly because we do find it a little bit odd that it's been 2 1/2 days now and we haven't heard from Blaze," said sheriff's Sgt. Don Voght.

A Facebook page has been started to help locate Bernstein, who was due to head back to school on Sunday.

He is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, about 130 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. Bernstein was wearing a dark-colored jacket, dark gray long-sleeved zip-up and white Adidas sneakers at the time of his disappearance, the release stated.

Anyone who has knowledge of the teen's whereabouts is urged to call the Sheriff's Department 714-647-7000 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.