“We think this is one of the best things we can do to help police.”
Shuping-Russell said the board approved the reward fund, which the trustees will fund personally, on Tuesday.
“When this first happened, it sounded like it would wrap up relatively quickly, and it hasn’t,” she said. “I think it’s really critical to do something.”
The Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, of which Hedgepeth was a member, and Hawthorne at the View Apartments are each pledging $1,000 to the reward fund.
A $2,000 reward is also being offered by Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers, bringing the total reward fund to $29,000.
Sgt. Josh Mecimore, spokesman for Chapel Hill police, said the department can only do so much by itself.
“We really need people in the public who might know something to pass along the information they have,” he said.
He said rewards can be an effective tool in getting people to come forward with information.
“We may find it out eventually but we may not,” he said. “Them calling may be the difference from solving the case and not.”
After the 2008 murder of Student Body President Eve Marie Carson, the Board of Trustees also offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Mecimore said the calls they received helped lead police to suspects Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr.
Both have been convicted of Carson’s murder. They are both now serving life sentences.
“In the Carson case, it would have made it much more difficult to solve,” Mecimore said.
The reward is being offered through the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers program.
“This has shaken the University community all the way from students to the trustees,” Shuping-Russell said. “I pray that (the reward) will work again so the family can have some peace and comfort.”
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