ABC11 Investigates

Family of Faith Hedgepeth seeks answers to her murder 1 year later

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The mother of murdered UNC-Chapel Hill student Faith Hedgepeth is talking to ABC11 one year after her daughter's tragic death.

For a year, it's been a murder case shrouded in secrecy, but now there's a new call for an arrest and a change in the investigation. Along with Hedgepeth's friends and family, others are raising questions, and demanding answers.

One group that's demanding answers is the North Carolina Commission on Indian Affairs. ABC11 has learned that they're not alone in their call for a broader investigation.

"She was always a sweet person, always trying to help people," said Faith's sister, Rolanda Hedgepeth.

"I remember everything that happened that day," said Faith's mother, Connie Hedgepeth.

That day was one a year ago Saturday. Still Faith's family and the public are in the dark about what happened in the early morning hours before the UNC student's roommate discovered her lifeless body at their Chapel Hill apartment.

"As long as I know that they're working on it, and doing the best that they can and, of course, if they need help, I expect them to ask for help," said Connie.

The family insists it has confidence in the Chapel Hill Police Department, the lead -- and so far--the only agency on the case.

With the exception of an FBI profile of the killer, ABC11 has confirmed that not even the State Bureau of Investigation is involved. That's a sharp contrast from another recent high profile UNC student murder case that garnered a multi-law enforcement agency response.

It's a distinction that isn't lost on Hedgepeth's family, and their frustrated supporters.

"There are so many people that cared and loved Faith," said Connie.

"A lot of people are frustrated, and they vent their frustration to us," said Rolanda.

Organizations like the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs have stepped in, calling on the UNC System to review unsolved crimes against students, like Faith.

Further complicating the case are different jurisdictions. Despite Faith's Chapel Hill address, the case will ultimately be prosecuted in Durham.

Durham County District Attorney Leon Stanback told the ABC11 I-Team:  "We're very hopeful we'll get a break in this case soon. There's been a lot of activity. We're planning conferences with the Chapel Hill department. We're trying to see if there are any new approaches to solving the crime."

The Chapel Hill Police Department declined ABC11's multiple requests for an interview.

It's renewed a public plea for new information on the case while closely guarding the dark details investigators do know. The UNC student was the victim of a brutal beating. Her family describes her bedroom as a horrifically bloody scene. However, they believe she fought her attacker until the end.

"I'm 100 percent sure she fought. She had defensive -- she had bruises on her hands," said Rolanda.

Police have DNA of the killer but no known match. A profile suggests Faith may have known her attacker, which is something even the family has considered.

"I hope and pray it's no one we know," said Connie. "But, it may be someone we've met before."

Whoever it is, they patiently wait for justice.

"It's very important. We can't move on," said Rolanda. "We've been stuck for a year."

So they hold closely the mystery and the memory of Faith Hedgepeth -- the light of their lives.

"I pray that we won't be here next year talking about the case is not solved -- that it will be solved," said Connie.

Saturday, a sorority on the UNC campus will host a walk in honor of Faith Hedgepeth at 7:30 p.m.

Chelsea Barnes and other members of the Alpha Pi Omega sorority, of which Faith was a member, hope Saturday's march will help keep hope alive and honor their sister's memory.

"She's the sweetest girl you'd ever meet," said sorority member Chelsea Barnes. "I haven't met anybody who had anything negative to say about her, and it's such a great loss for our community."

"Kind of just reminder everyone on campus and her family at home that we haven't forgotten and we're still praying for justice," said sorority President Katlin Roberts.

» Click here for more on the memorial walk. «

If you know anything about Faith Hedgepeth's death, you are asked to call the Chapel Hill Police Department tip line at (919) 614-6363 or Crimestoppers at (919) 942-7515.

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