Durham News: Opinion

Gaspo: More from the mysterious Faith Hedgepeth recording

With assistance of someone within the family of homicide victim Faith Hedgepeth, I’ve reviewed what appears to be the entire enhanced audio and transcript that was partially revealed in a national news broadcast.

The show, “Crime Watch Daily,” aired only snippets of the recording worked on by audio analyst Arlo West of Creative Forensic Services.

The recording is a three-minute, likely inadvertently sent voice mail that depicts an intense exchange about 1:30 a.m. the morning Faith was killed.

The enhanced recording is still very difficult to discern. However, it sounds as if three people, and maybe one to two more, are involved in the extremely heated situation.

Two of the voices, according to West, are female. Faith’s father, Roland Hedgepeth, said he’s certain one of the voices is his daughter’s. If so, one can hear Faith uttering a number of phrases, some in a pitched voice.

In the transcript and subtitles, at different points on the recording, “Ow my head.” And, ”Help me.”

“Get off of me.” (Twice.)

At one instance about two minutes, 43 seconds (2:43) in, the transcript reads, “Faith: (scream). Help.”

The profanity-laced recording portrays a struggle and stark anger that appears to be from a woman furious with Faith.

“Female: You want to mess with my boyfriend?” And, “Female: I’m gonna kick your face (expletive). ... Don’t ever think I would have believed you. Lies.”

A man says early on, “All of this (expletive) you’re gonna answer to.”

Elsewhere, “Male: Did you (expletive) your own (inaudible) obsession? Faith: I didn’t do it.”

The recording suggests Faith, or someone, is being restrained.

And, “Female: Don’t be a (expletive); put up a fight.”

According to the materials, a male says, “Get the duct tape next to (inaudible) then they can tie up Faith.” Then, right afterward, “Faith: Please (inaudible) me. My hands are on fire. Help.”

A male says, “Put her hands behind her head.”

At 0:46, “Faith: Let me go.”

On repeated occasions, a male or different males say in a crude, insistent way that they will “(expletive) her.”

At 1:19, these threatening words. “Male: To our next victim. Female: Alright. Male: Just throw it in the river.”

In the enhanced voice mail, four names are heard. Two may correspond to two males mentioned in police records as having been talking to or spending time with Faith at the The Thrill nightclub before she was killed.

Authorities have said the attack that caused Faith’s death likely happened after 4 a.m. But even if the events the voice mail captured occurred some three hours before Faith took her last breath, they seem to show something dangerous, ugly and volatile happening.

I asked Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols, whose office would prosecute any murder charges, if he knew specifics about the Chapel Hill Police Department’s analysis of the audio. He did not.

About the investigation, Echols said, “There has been a lot of back and forth discussion and debate.” He said his team is not shy about expressing its views on what could be done. Echols said he’s not personally heard the original recording but someone on his staff has.

Back to the voice mail. At 1:01, “Male. “I think she’s dying.” Followed immediately by a male, “Do it anyhow.”

Near the end, at 2:55, the recording shows Faith saying, “No.” The tone sounds loud, maybe panicked.

At 2:56, this, “Female: What do you think (inaudible) you? I liked you better. (Expletive).”

At 2:59, the recording stops.

You can reach Tom Gasparoli at tgaspo@gmail.com or 919-219-0042.