Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees is pledging $25,000 for information leading to an arrest or arrests in the slaying of 19-year-old Faith Danielle Hedgepeth.
The UNC junior was found dead last week in her off-campus apartment. Investigators are waiting on a preliminary autopsy to determine how she died.
The $25,000 will be added to a reward offered through the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers program. The Haliwa-Saponi Native American tribe, of which Hedgepeth was a member, and Hawthorne at the View Apartments, where she lived, have each pledged $1,000 toward that reward fund.
Hedgepeth's father, Roland Hedgepeth, said Wednesday that the reward brings some relief to the family.
"I'm excited, really overjoyed about it. I think it will help turn the tide and really make a difference because surely there's someone out there who saw something," he said. "I know it will probably bring about a bunch of false leads, but at the same time, hopefully it will bring about the right lead."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 942-7515.
The biology major from Warrenton was found dead inside her apartment around 11 a.m. Friday. Investigators say they haven't developed any suspects in her slaying, but don't believe it was a random act.
Thousands of mourners attended her funeral Wednesday at Mouth Bethel Baptist Church in Warrenton.
"I was just totally amazed at the number of people who showed up to show their love and support for Faith," Roland Hedgepeth said.
He said family and friends are grappling with unanswered questions about what happened to his daughter.
"We all wonder why. That's the biggest question. Of course, knowing why won't bring Faith back, but at least if the person is caught, (then) justice is brought to bear," he said.
Asked if he had a message for Faith Hedgepeth's killer, Roland Hedgepeth said, "You took the love of our life away."
Jeff Anstead, who lives next door to the family, said he has known Faith Hedgepeth since birth. His daughter was one of her dear friends.
"To take somebody so special, it's just not right," Anstead said. "Every parent out here can feel the hurt that her mother and father are going through."
Deandra Bellamy worked with Faith Hedgepeth at Red Robin restaurant in Durham. She last spoke with her friend Thursday night.
"We were supposed to go out on the weekend, all of us. We were supposed to be together," Bellamy said. "Now she's not here."
Funeral goers urged anyone with information about the slaying to come forward.
A candlelight vigil for Faith Hedgepeth was held Monday evening at UNC. Another vigil is planned for 6 p.m. Friday at Warren County High School.