For the first time since the murder of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth in September, the Chapel Hill Police Department has released details about the investigation.
New information included in a Tuesday press release notes that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill junior was last known to be alive at her Durham County apartment at 3 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, after going to a local night club—the Thrill—with her roommate. The roommate found Hedgepeth dead 11 a.m. that day at their apartment at 5639 Old Chapel Hill Rd. Investigators have identified DNA evidence left by a male suspect and have worked to compile a list of the suspect’s possible behavioral traits.
With consultation from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, the police believe the offender may know Hedgepeth and may have lived near her. The suspects’ whereabouts were unknown during the early morning hours on Sept. 7 when Hedgepeth was killed. He may have talked about Hedgepeth to others, and his behavior after the murder may have been altered. There might be a change in his school and work performance, and he might have an “unusual interest in the case.” Now that the public has more knowledge about the suspect, Hedgepeth’s father, Roland, believes someone will come forward with information that will help the police catch the killer in the near future.
“Certainly this [killer] has made statements to someone that probably will be a red flag or done some of the things that were pointed out in the profile bullets,” he said. “I hope it would refresh someone’s memory or make them think twice about something that has happened.”
The Hedgepeth family has been in touch with Chapel Hill police weekly and learned of the new developments shortly before the information was released to the public. Roland Hedgepeth declined to comment on any speculation of who the suspect could be, noting that he does not have any more information about the investigation than the general public does.
After determining that the death was a homicide and not a random act of violence in September, a Durham County judge sealed much of the case to the public in order to identify suspects who might have information only known to investigators. This is the most information about a possible suspect the police have released throughout the course of the investigation, and they have yet to release a cause of death.
“Investigators are confident this DNA will identify the offender and help us to exclude individuals not involved in this crime,” the release states.
Chapel Hill police representatives could not be reached for comment.
Hedgepeth, who was from Warrenton, N.C., was a biology major and Gates Millennium Scholar at UNC. She also became actively involved in the UNC American Indian Center during her freshman year. She worked at Red Robin restaurant in Durham, and friends say she wanted to become a pediatrician.