On the morning of Sept. 7, 2012, Faith Hedgepeth, a biology major three weeks shy of her 20th birthday, was found dead in her apartment.
Three years later, her family and the community are still searching for answers.
The Chapel Hill Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation continue to investigate her death as a homicide.
On Friday, they renewed their appeal for information from the public.
“This is not a cold case,” the press release said. “It has been and remains an active investigation.”
That’s what they’ve told Roland Hedgepeth, but he said police don’t tell him about day-to-day work on the case.
“It could just be an empty statement,” he said. “I guess I just choose to believe them.”
Three years and no answers
In September 2014, police released an autopsy confirming Faith Hedgepeth was beaten to death — but by whom, or for what reason, remains unknown.
DNA evidence found at the crime scene points to an unknown male assailant, police say, but authorities have not found a match for the DNA profile amid the hundreds of samples they have on file.
“They have good evidence. They just don’t have someone to tie it to,” Roland Hedgepeth said.
Roland Hedgepeth said he has had multiple investigators work on the case, without any luck.
For Faith’s older sister, Rolanda Hedgepeth, the sum of three years and no answers is a lot of frustration and confusion.
“It’s hard not knowing a lot of things,” she said. “It makes your mind run more. You run every scenario through your head. That’s what you do when you don’t know.”
Rolanda Hedgepeth said it’s gotten too hard for her to go anywhere near Chapel Hill or Durham, but she hopes the people there don’t forget about her sister.
“I just hope they remember that she loved Carolina and don’t forget what happened to her,” she said.
Faith Hedgepeth attended UNC on a Gates Millennium Scholarship and dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. A member of the Haliwa-Saponi American Indian tribe, she participated in several American Indian organizations on campus, including the Carolina Indian Circle and the Unheard Voices a cappella group.
Amy Locklear Hertel, director of the American Indian Center at UNC, said the center will host a luncheon later in September with the Carolina Indian Circle to celebrate Faith’s life and raise money for the scholarship given in her name.
“We are moving the date to later in the month so we are remembering Faith closer to her birthdate rather than her death date,” Hertel said in an email.
Roland Hedgepeth said it’s comforting to know that campus organizations continue to remember Faith.
“I don’t want her memory to be lost,” he said. “I don’t want her legacy to be forgotten — the legacy of a young girl from nowhere fighting against the odds to make something of herself, and her life being cut short.”