1 year later, Chapel Hill police need clues in Faith Hedgepeth slaying

tgrubb@newsobserver.comSeptember 5, 2013 

  • How to help

    Anyone with information should call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential, and callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $39,000. Written information can be sent to crimetips@townofchapelhill.org.

— A year after her death, police reissued a public appeal Thursday to help bring UNC-Chapel Hill student Faith Hedgepeth’s killer to justice.

The 19-year-old from Warrenton was killed early on the morning of Sept. 7, 2012, at her apartment off Old Chapel Hill Road. Police have never said how she died, but family members told The Daily Tar Heel last year that she died from a blow to the head after being beaten.

The Hawthorne at the View apartment complex is within the Chapel Hill town limits, but also in Durham County, where the case eventually could be tried.

Chapel Hill police have been working with the Durham district attorney’s office and state and federal law enforcement officials to find her killer. The smallest detail that someone remembers could be the key to unlocking a lingering mystery, police said in a news release.

“The police department understands that the community wants information about the case. Our priority remains maintaining the integrity of the investigation to ensure that Faith’s killer is brought to justice. We appreciate the understanding and support shown by Faith’s family as we continue to investigate her death,” police said in the news release.

The university community also is remembering Hedgepeth.

The Alpha Chapter of Alpha Pi Omega sorority, which Hedgepeth was pledging, will sponsor a Faith Hedgepeth Memorial Walk on campus at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The silent walk will start at the Bell Tower Amphitheater and end at the Old Well, where there will be a donation table and where the walkers will leave carnations in Hedgepeth’s memory, UNC-CH spokeswoman Susan Hudson said.

Amy Locklear-Hertel, director of UNC-CH’s American Indian Center, will be the speaker, with music provided by Harmonyx and Unheard Voices. Parking will be available in Cobb Deck off Raleigh Road.

In case of rain, the event will move inside the Genome Science Center, near the Bell Tower Amphitheater.

A judge has kept search warrants in Hedgepeth’s death sealed for nearly a year to protect information that only investigators and her killer would know. However, police did release information in January about DNA evidence from the scene that indicates a male suspect. They have not said how Hedgepeth was killed or whether they have any suspects, but they initially said they do not think the killing was random.

Police do know that Hedgepeth and her roommate went to The Thrill nightclub in Chapel Hill early that morning and that she was last known to be alive around 3 a.m. at her apartment. Her family has said there were no signs of forced entry. Hedgepeth’s roommate found her body at 11 a.m. Sept. 7.

The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit released a profile of the killer earlier this year that said:

• The suspect was familiar with Hedgepeth and may have lived near her in the past.

• The suspect was unaccounted for during the early morning hours of Sept. 7, 2012.

• The suspect may have made comments regarding Hedgepeth to close associates in the past.

• There may have been some change in the suspect’s behavior after the slaying (including “an unusual interest in the case”) or a change in his performance at work or school.

• The suspect may have left the area suddenly or unexpectedly and may have an explanation for the sudden departure.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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