$25,000 reward offered for arrest in death of UNC-CH student

From staff reportsSeptember 12, 2012 

UNC-Chapel Hill student Faith Hedgepeth.


— The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees is offering a $25,000 reward through the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers program for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the death of student Faith Danielle Hedgepeth.

The Chapel Hill Police Department has said the case is a homicide. They ask anyone with information to call the department’s tip line at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919 942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.

The Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, of which Hedgepeth was a member, and Hawthorne at the View Apartments, where she lived, have also pledged $1,000 each to the Crime Stoppers reward fund.

Members of the tribe had expressed concern about the size of the $2,000 reward for information offered by police. They wondered in gatherings why it was not higher.

Cynthia Silver, wife of the pastor at Hedgepeth's church, was one of many who questioned it. "Evil people will turn on evil people when money is involved," she said. "It should be higher."

A cousin of Hedgepeth's collected more than $1,000 in small bills at a vigil late Sunday on the tribal grounds, noting that it would be offered to the family to increase the reward or, if necessary, for funeral expenses.

Anyone may contribute to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers program, a nonprofit organization. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to Crime Stoppers, P.O. Box 1076, Carrboro, NC 27510. Donors may request that the contribution be used in the Hedgepeth case.

On Tuesday, police said a judge had ordered 911 recordings sealed in the case.

Sgt. Joshua Mecimore, a police spokesman, said the recordings and search warrants related to the homicide investigation have been sealed indefinitely to protect evidence. Police also have not released a cause of death pending a Chapel Hill medical examiner’s report, Mecimore said.

“It’s for accuracy and, right now, for investigative reasons,” he said. “There are details related to the incident that only someone involved or investigators may know.”

Friends found Hedgepeth, 19, dead Friday in her apartment at Hawthorne at the View on Old Chapel Hill Road. A junior, Hedgepeth was a biology major from Warrenton.

Hundreds of students, family and friends met Monday night at the Pit, the brick courtyard at UNC-CH where students often gather, to remember Hedgepeth. Many asked how someone could have killed the young woman, who planned to be a pediatrician or teacher in her small tribe of 4,000 members, most of whom live about 90 minutes northeast of Raleigh.

Another memorial service will be held for Hedgepeth at 6 p.m. Friday, spearheaded by the Warren County High School Class of 2010 in the school's gymnasium.

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