Current Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:59:10 -0500
A 19-year-old UNC student was found dead in her apartment Friday morning in what Chapel Hill police are investigating as a homicide.
Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, a biology major from Warrenton, was found by friends in her apartment off Old Chapel Hill Road around 11 a.m. Friday.
She was less than three weeks shy of her 20th birthday.
Chapel Hill police don’t believe the slaying was random. But as of Sunday night, no arrests or suspects had been announced in the case.
A cause of death also has not been released.
Chapel Hill police have established a tip line for anyone with information about Hedgepeth’s death.
Callers who provide information that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,000.
In the days following Hedgepeth’s sudden death, both Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp released statements to the community.
“In times of disasters and tragic losses, our community comes together to grieve,” Kleinschmidt said.
Involvement on campus
Hedgepeth was part of the Haliwa-Saponi American Indian Tribe in Warren County.
She remained heavily involved in Native American culture after coming to UNC, becoming active in the UNC American Indian Center during her freshman year.
She also sang with Unheard Voices, the American Indian a cappella group at UNC, was a member of the Carolina Indian Circle and worked at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Durham.
“Faith became very active in the culture here,” said Brandi Brooks, program coordinator for the American Indian Center.
“I remember meeting her here her freshman year. She became active that day.”
At the center on Saturday, Brooks and dozens of other staff and students mourned the loss of a friend they said was bright, beautiful and kind.
A blue ribbon was hung on the center’s door in her memory.
“Faith was quiet, but very spunky,” Brooks said. “I think of her smiling, very friendly. She was quiet until you got to know her.”
Hedgepeth came to UNC on a Gates Millennium Scholarship.
“She deserved it more than anyone I knew,” said Leslie Locklear, president of Alpha Pi Omega and a friend of Hedgepeth’s. “She was dedicated and determined and always worked hard to make her dreams come true.”
Hedgepeth also received an Alston-Pleasants Scholarship from UNC. She spoke of someday becoming a physician.
Hedgepeth attended rush events for Alpha Pi Omega last week. She had expressed interest in joining the sorority, Locklear said in an email.
“Faith meant a lot to us,” she said. “She was a sweet and kindhearted woman who we hoped we could one day call a sister.”
Amy Locklear Hertel, director of the American Indian Center, said she saw Hedgepeth last on Tuesday.
“She looked like she was happy to be among friends,” she said. “That’s what I’ll take away from this.”
Tonight, Alpha Pi Omega will hold a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. in the Pit in Hedgepeth’s memory.
“We as a sisterhood felt that we should take immediate action to show the larger UNC campus just how much she meant to us,” Locklear said.
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