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Hedgepeth warrant sealed another 45 days

On Friday, I spent a lot of time waiting — more than an hour in the Durham Clerk of Superior Court’s office, another 45 minutes in the back of a courtroom and a few more minutes waiting for a judge to deliver a decision I’ve been waiting on for more than 60 days.

That afternoon, I — along with The Daily Tar Heel’s Director of Enterprise Sarah Glen — asked Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood to unseal a search warrant in the case of slain UNC junior Faith Danielle Hedgepeth.

But after his decision to reseal the warrant, we’ll have to wait 45 more days.

The search warrant was sealed on Sept. 11 — four days after Hedgepeth was found dead in her apartment. The warrant was under a 60-day sealing order, meaning it should have been publicly available on Nov. 10.

This is what led Sarah and I to the Durham County Courthouse on Friday, determined to come back with some sort of information about what led to Hedgepeth’s violent end.

We first went to the Clerk of Court’s Office and requested the warrant. After more than an hour of waiting, we were told that Hobgood had taken the case file, and we might not be able to get the warrant that day.

Somewhere along the way, we agreed to be the witnesses at a wedding. Congratulations, Matt and Agatha.

We then waited in Hobgood’s courtroom for about an hour to talk to him about the warrant.

After criminal matters wrapped up, he pointed to us and asked us to come forward.

Somehow we ended up at the table for attorneys, stating our names for the court record and asking Hobgood to unseal the warrant.

I told him that we believe the more information we report, the more it encourages people to come forward with information about Hedgepeth’s death.

I told him that because of the lack of information in the case, people are confused and scared — unsure if they too are in danger.

I told him that people haven’t forgotten Hedgepeth, and we believe they deserve to know what’s going on.

After we stated our case, a lawyer from the Durham County District Attorney’s Office asked for the warrant to remain sealed, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The lawyer said extensive DNA analysis has yet to be completed, and Chapel Hill police, with the help of the State Bureau of Investigation, is still investigating leads.

In the end, Hobgood ordered that the warrant be sealed for 45 more days.

But come Dec. 31 — once those 45 days have passed — we will once again fight for access to the warrant, because we think you deserve to know.

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