More than four months after the death of UNC student Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, Chapel Hill police announced Tuesday that DNA evidence at the scene of her homicide points toward a male suspect.
Hedgepeth, a junior from Warrenton, was found dead the morning of Sept. 7 in her apartment at 5639 Old Chapel Hill Road.
h6(liner mb). HEDGEPETH TIMELINE
* Sept. 7- At 11 a.m., Hedgepeth was found dead in her apartment * Sept. 10- Durham County judges sealed search warrants, 911 call in the case * Nov. 14- $10,000 was added to the reward fund for information in the case, bringing the total reward fund to $39,000.
h6(liner mb). CRIMESTOPPERS
Anyone with information in Hedgepeth’s death is encouraged to contact Chapel-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515
According to a police press release, in the hours before her "death, Hedgepeth was at the Rosemary Street nightclub The Thrill with her roommate, Karena Rosario. Hedgepeth was last known to have been alive at around 3 a.m.
In the months since her death, Chapel Hill police — with the help of local, state and federal agencies — have analyzed DNA evidence left at the scene by a male suspect.
Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Analysis Unit believe the suspect may have been familiar with Hedgepeth and lived near her in the past.
The suspect may have also made comments about her in the past, and his behavior may have changed after the murder. The suspect would have been unaccounted for in the early hours of Sept. 7.
Police believe this DNA evidence will help identify and convict Hedgepeth’s killer.
At around 11 a.m. on Sept. 7, Hedgepeth’s body was discovered by Rosario and another friend.
Chapel Hill police have not released a cause of death, but Hedgepeth’s family says her death certificate states she died from blunt head force trauma after being beaten to death.
According to radio traffic among Durham emergency responders, Hedgepeth was found in her room, and there was blood.
Several search warrants and the 911 call were sealed soon after her death at the request of Chapel Hill police, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
On Nov. 16, a Durham County Superior Court Judge resealed a search warrant in the case that was initially sealed on Sept. 11. An attorney from the Durham County District Attorney’s office asked the warrant be resealed because of ongoing DNA analysis from the scene.
After four months of silence on the investigation, Hedgepeth’s father, Roland Hedgepeth, welcomed Wednesday’s news.
He said he is optimistic his daughter’s killer will be brought to justice.
“I believe this case will be solved,” said Roland Hedgepeth. “I believe they’ve marked a new beginning.”
Hedgepeth’s family has struggled to move forward without some sort of resolution in the case.
“For us, we’re kind of stuck back on Sept. 7,” Roland Hedgepeth said. “Every day we get up and relive that day. But I’m confident things will open up soon.”
Contact the desk editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.