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Hometown tribe: Slain UNC student 'sweetest person in the world'

Posted September 9, 2012
Updated September 10, 2012

Faith Hedgepeth
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— Two days after a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student was found slain, members of her Haliwa-Saponi tribe showed why every beat of her heart and every breath she took mattered to them.

Deirdre Francis organized a vigil for her best friend, Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, in her hometown of Warrenton Sunday night. Friends found Hedgepeth, 19, dead in her Hawthorne on the View apartment in Chapel Hill Friday morning.

"She was the sweetest person in the world," Francis said.

Hundreds at the vigil watched Native American dancing and drumming, which honored Hedgepeth's love of singing and dancing at Pow-Wows.

"I just want to thank everybody for their love and support, and I'm just overwhelmed," her father, Roland Hedgepeth, said.

Montenia Lynch went to school with Hedgepeth's mother and remembers when she was pregnant.

"She will always be my baby," Lynch said. "It just saddens my heart to know that someone would do this to such a nice lady."

While Chapel Hill police have not said how Hedgepeth died, they have called her death a homicide. No arrest has been made or suspects named, but investigators said the crime was not random and the public is not in danger.

The vigil raised more than $1,000 to go toward a $2,000 reward for an arrest, as well as funeral expenses.

Tribe celebrates life of slain UNC student Tribe celebrates life of slain UNC student

"It would not relieve any pain, but it will relieve a little stress off the hearts," Francis said.

The Alpha Pi Omega sorority is organizing another vigil for Hedgepeth in The Pit on UNC's campus at 8 p.m. Monday. Mount Bethel Church in Warrenton will host a wake for her at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and her funeral at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Chapel Hill police have set up a tipline to get more information about Hedgepeth's death. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 942-7515.

"I hope justice is served. You took something you cannot give, and that's a life," said Lynch. "You took somebody's child, somebody's sister and a friend. Put yourself in her mother's shoes."

38 Comments

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  • delilahk2000 Sep 10, 5:46 p.m.

    SO SAD........SUCH A COWARD, YOU WILL BE CAUGHT SOON.....

  • storchheim Sep 10, 4:14 p.m.

    "Also all on board have a right to their comments." char mclain

    "TRYING TO PLAY THE RACE CARD? LETS NOT DO THAT." char mclain

  • Pepe Silvia Sep 10, 3:57 p.m.

    "I wish the media would stop making such an issue out of her being a Native American. Does the media make such a big deal when this happens to an African American or white person?" SaveEnergyMan

    They aren't making a big deal out of it just because she is Native American, however it is clearly a big part of who she was and that her culture was a big part of the vigil held in her honor.

  • Obamacare again Sep 10, 3:53 p.m.

    wish the media would stop making such an issue out of her being a Native American. Does the media make such a big deal when this happens to an African American or white person?

    Generally the more attractive and promising folks in society get more media coverage, especially if something tragic happens to them.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 10, 3:50 p.m.

    Does the media make such a big deal when this happens to an African American or white person?

    TRYING TO PLAY THE RACE CARD? LETS NOT DO THAT. SHE IS GONE. SO THINK OF SOMETHING POSITIVE. THANKS.

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 10, 3:38 p.m.

    I wish the media would stop making such an issue out of her being a Native American. Does the media make such a big deal when this happens to an African American or white person?

    That being said, it is a tragedy anytime a young person of any race or gender is murdered. I wish her family peace and the police luck in finding and putting the perp away forever. She was a part of our community and her death affects us all.

  • Obamacare again Sep 10, 3:21 p.m.

    Not a random act but no suspects. Who's running that police department, Barney Fife?

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 10, 3:11 p.m.

    SO WHY ARE YOU'LL MAKING SOME OF THIS STUPID COMMENTS.

    OLD CHEV

    I don't see any stupid comments at all. No one is perfect and just maybe did not really know this young lady as one would think they knew. Also all on board have a right to their comments.

  • elyhim2 Sep 10, 3:07 p.m.

    The police never said attacker, they said homicide. They said no one was in danger but want leads, i wonder if she overdosed on drugs and they are seeking a homicide conviction from that?

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 10, 3:02 p.m.

    Its very strange that the officials have not found clues, evidence or person who took this young lady's life. Praying that they will make an arrest very soon.

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