FBI: Break in Hedgepeth case

Jan. 08, 2013 @ 09:03 PM

New information has been released related to the death of Faith Hedgepeth, a student at the University of North Carolina and member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in Warren County.

According to Chapel Hill police, “evidence collected at the scene and analyzed” by the state crime lab has “revealed DNA left at the scene by a male suspect.”

Few details have been released in the homicide investigation led by the Chapel Hill Police Department. Hedgepeth was found dead in her Chapel Hill apartment on the morning of Sept. 7, 2012.

Chapel Hill police consulted with the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit and released the following “identifiers” of the suspect for which they are looking.

• The homicide suspect is familiar with the victim and may have lived near the victim in the past.

• The homicide suspect was unaccounted for during the early morning hours of Sept. 7, 2012.

• The homicide suspect may have made comments regarding the victim to close associates in the past.

• There may have been some change in the homicide suspect’s behavior after the murder (to include an unusual interest in the case) or a change in his performance at work or school.

The Chapel Hill Police Department has collaborated with other local, state and federal agencies in the investigation.

Other information released by the department revealed that Hedgepeth and her roommate visited a local Chapel Hill nightclub in the early morning hours on the day of her death. She was last known to be alive around 3 a.m. in the apartment they shared.

Beyond information in a prepared police statement, Lt. Kevin Gunter of the Chapel Hill Police Department said no comments would be added.

He declined to respond to inquiries about the cause of death or possible weapons but added: “It’s my understanding that the autopsy report has been completed although it hasn’t been released.”

Attempts to contact the family for their reactions to the report were unsuccessful.

The investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Chapel Hill Police Department tip line at (919) 614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and callers are eligible for up to a $39,000 reward without further involvement in this case.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.