One year later, hundreds gather to celebrate life of slain UNC student
Posted September 7, 2013
Updated September 8, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Saturday marked one year since a University of North Carolina student was found beaten to death in her Chapel Hill apartment, and her family and police continue to hope for a break in the case.
A friend found the body of Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, 19, in her bedroom at her apartment in the Hawthorne on the View complex on Old Chapel Hill Road on Sept. 7, 2012.
On Saturday, hundreds of friends and family members gathered at the University's Bell Tower Amphitheater for a silent walk to celebrate Hedgepeth's life.
"She was the happiest person I knew, always laughing, always smiling," said Hedgepeth's friend Leslie Locklear.
Hedgepeth had always wanted to be a member of the Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, the country's oldest Native American Greek letter organization. On Saturday, Hedgepeth was announced as an honorary member.
"The entire Carolina community grieves for the loss of this promising, vibrant student," said UNC Chancellor Carol Folt.
Hedgepeth's family says they pick themselves up every day and continue to lean on each other.
"My hope is that they find out who did this and why. We want to know why," said Hedgepeth's father, Rowland Hedgepeth.
Police issued a statement Thursday saying they are continuing to work the case and are hopeful that renewed attention on the slaying will provide the clues they need to make an arrest.
Investigators said they found a man's DNA in the apartment. They have also said that Hedgepeth and her roommate were at a student hot spot, The Thrill, in the early morning hours before she was killed.
"It doesn't get any easier. It's always on my mind from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed," Rowland Hedgepeth said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Chapel Hill Police Department tip line at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515 or email information to investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reward of up to $39,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.