Chapel Hill police provide update on Faith Hedgepeth murder
The Chapel Hill Police Department is providing new information in the murder of UNC-Chapel Hill student Faith Hedgepeth. Hedgepeth was found beaten to death in her off-campus apartment in September of 2012.
Oh right bye. Yeah. Right this one is on, come on mic check. 123321. My check my check. I'm not going to turn out great. No certain. Mhm. What one man? one minute. 1 minute. Mhm Pretty yes. Yeah. Are they talking? Yeah. Mhm. Hello it ready? Thank you for joining us today. My name is rand Northam. I'm the communications manager for the town of Chapel Hill. With me today to provide remarks are Chapel Hill Police chief and executive director for community safety chris blue assistant Chief of police sali sali who the parents of faith heads, excuse me, Faith Hedgpeth and family Roland and Connie Hedgpeth. State Bureau of Investigation Director bob Shermeyer north Carolina. Attorney general josh stein Durham County District Attorney, sattana Deberry unC Chapel Hill Chancellor kevin Guskiewicz, Chapel Hill Mayor pam hemminger, Chapel Hill town manager Maurice jones. So each person has some remarks they would like to make today. After everyone has spoken, we will open it up to the media briefly for questions for the members of the media President. The names and positions of each person speaking today are listed on the program for today's press conference 1st. I'd like to call police chief Chris Blew up to speak. Thank you ran. Mhm Yeah. nine years, 9 days, nine years and nine days ago tragedy struck this community. Our community Chapel Hill Police officers responded to a heartbreaking scene. One where a promising young life had been ended way too early. I know it has been extremely difficult for faith hedge pests, family, friends and community as the days, the weeks, the months and the years have passed to hear over and over that we had not yet made an arrest and throughout this investigation as the anniversary of based out well come and go. We promised to protect important details about this case and our investigation and keep them close to the vest so that when the time was right, we could present a strong case to the District Attorney's office. We asked you to trust us. We promised you that we would one day make an arrest and today we can report that we're making good on that promise. Do the hard work of our team and our many remarkable partners. We stand here today to announce that we have a subject in custody for the murder of faith as a father of two smart and vibrant young women myself. I cannot imagine the pain and heartache, the rolling and Connie and all of these family have felt every single day The past nine years. I want to thank you all for your confidence in us and the excellent team that worked on this case. And thank you for your immense patience and grace and to all the employees of the Chapel Hill Police Department are guardians of the Hill. Thank you for your unwavering efforts to our agency partners, State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Crime Lab and so so many others. Thank you for providing us with the necessary tools and the outside expertise. When we called upon you, we are here today because of you. I know we will all want more answers and information and we'll be able to provide you today, patients will again be asked of you as this story will take some time to completely unfold. Today's announcement marks the next phase of this investigation and we will again commit to preserving the integrity of this case with everything. I'll ask Assistant Police Chief cell easily you to join me at the podium. Yeah, today is an important day. As we announced that we have arrested Miguel and ring Enrique Salguero of Olivares Age 28 of Durham. The arrest was made this morning without incident with the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigations. He's been charged with first degree murder of faith, Daniel Hege path On September 17, 2012. He is currently in the Durham County jail under no bond. We have fielded many interviews from the media in the past nine years about this case. And in each of those interviews, I have said that there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about faith and how to help bring justice to faith and her family. I wish I could have met her under much different circumstances. I've learned so much about faith, her bright infectious personality, the reasons why she had so many friends and use so many people around Chapel Hill. Her legacy lives on through all the lives that she touched, Roland Connie Rwanda and family. I now carry a piece of faith with me. Please know that while she's gone, she's not forgotten As Chief Blue alluded to this investigation is not complete. Our work is not done. We will continue to work this case until every lead has been extinguished and any parties that have a role in or knowledge of this tragedy are brought to justice. There are many partners we want to thank and future opportunities will allow us to highlight each of those including officer Stephen summary ski with the Montgomery county Maryland Police Department, the State Bureau of Investigations, the State Crime Lab, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Paraben labs. Thank you. I'm faced mother Connie hutch Beth. And when I got news this morning, I didn't do anything but cry and thank God and praise God because I put it in his hands and it was his timing. I don't know why it took so long, but I just know that it was him. And I just think the Chapel Hill Police Department is FBI anyone that had a hand and happened to investigate this case. I just thank them for all their hard work and their labor paid off. Just when I cried, it was tears of joy, tears of relief knowing that someone had been arrested in her case. I believe it's going to be hard. Uh the next months In years, maybe two for this to be resolved. But I'm praying and and asking God to please let it not be too long. Yeah, everything will be revealed that happened that morning or face there. So I just asked everyone to continue to keep us in your prayers and hope hopefully you all or the people even they didn't know her will always remember her and thank you so much for everything you have done. Yeah. Um Hey, my name is Roland Hitch Beth and I'm face dad. Um, I don't have a lot to say. I do know that when So lisa called me today and told me it made an arrest. Yeah. So my mind went, I mean I went right back to September 12, 2012 and uh, I couldn't function I think. Um, so that work went home, try to get my shit together to come here. But anyway, we're here and it's been a long nine years, nine days. And uh first of all I want to thank God for this day that we allow me to stay alive and to see this day. Um, of course I know this is not. This is not the case is not solved. This is not the end. This is just the beginning. And uh, but I I won't thank God for that. I want to thank Chapel Hill Police Department and all the agencies that assisted them up to this point for their um, put our diligence on this case. And I want to thank all our friends and family who support us uh these nine years and and again thank you. Okay my mom. It's nothing to be faced dead. Good afternoon. I'm bob Shermeyer with the north Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and it's my privilege to represent the hard working men and women that worked on this case day and night. This has been an emotional journey for the family for Chapel Hill P. D. And so for many others including our agents who never gave up on this case. They worked day and night, day and night. They would question things. They wake up in the middle of the night. They chase leads that turned out to be nothing but they didn't give up. They were determined and they pursued justice in this case until the very end. I talked with one of our agents that's been on almost 20 years just this morning. He was part of the arrest team and he told me, he said this has been an incredible case for me. He said I cannot believe that we're finally here and that the public actually pays me to do this job because it's so rewarding to him to bring justice in a case like this that he was just amazed and he doesn't, he's not a very emotional guy. But he got very emotional. This has been a journey for us and for Chapel Hill pd and for the many others. I want to acknowledge the crime lab who has been an incredible partner of ours in this case and many others. I call the director often for favors to get a particular case put to the top of the list because we have breaking needs for it and she's never denied me and to the Attorney general and the D. A. Who will now pursue justice in this matter. I'd like to acknowledge the agents who have worked on this case through the years because they've been solid partners of Chapel Hill pd but they're not here. They're out still chasing the leads in this case because this case, although an arrest has been made, this case is far from over. We're pursuing leads and ensuring that justice will be done in this case. But rest assured that the men and women of this agency worked day and night, not only on this case, but many others to pursue justice on behalf of of the citizens of this state Assistant Director Lynn Gay is here also special agent in charge. Mike Denny is here representing the bureau and I'm grateful for their leadership in this case. So we're grateful this day has come. We're sad for the family and their loss. But a message should be clear that the men and women of the north Carolina State Bureau of Investigation stand strong and will pursue justice wherever it takes us. Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I'm North Carolina Attorney General josh Stein and I want to start with a message to the family and friends of faith. Hedgpeth. I am so profoundly sorry for your loss. Faith was a bright, friendly, beautiful young woman whose life was full of promise and tragically and brutally cut short. Well, we understand that nothing can fill the holes in your hearts. We hope that knowing that a suspect has been arrested and is off the street reassures you that we are one step closer to justice for faith. Sometimes justice is swift. Other times it takes longer. Today, after nine years in a week, an arrest has been made in the murder of faith Hedgpeth. Today's important announcement proves the power of partnership persistence and the potency of DNA. Chief Blue. Director Shermeyer. Congratulations to you and your team. I remember seeing an interview with chief blue a few years ago in which he said he was 100% certain that arrest would be made in face case. I'm grateful for his confidence and the dedication of him and his department police detectives and FBI agents conducted thousands of interviews and spent countless hours in this case, never giving up, always fighting for faith and her family. I think every member of law enforcement who worked this case. I'd also like to thank my team at the state Crime lab. I'm joined here with Director Vanessa martin Mucci of the Crime lab. Vanessa, her predecessor, john Bird and the scientists who were dedicated have worked closely with law enforcement on this case. Erin Kermiche was our lead forensic biology analyst but she was not alone. 12 other analysts also worked this case Over the years. They worked 53 submissions of evidence from the case and analyzed 229 different samples to rule out suspects. And yesterday with a sample provided by law enforcement of the suspect. The state crime lab generated a match to a DNA profile created or derived from the original crime scene as a result in arrest. Nearly a decade in the making has been made. This case underscores the importance of D. N. A. That's why we are working hard to test the thousands of untested sexual assault kits in local law enforcement custody across north Carolina. I appreciate the legislature for passing the Survivor Act in 2019 And for putting in its current proposed budget an additional $9 million dollars to outsource the remaining kids for testing. Given the dramatic increase in DNA submissions to the state crime lab. However, The lab needs an additional 12 scientists to do the kind of important work that led to the arrest here today. I urged the legislature to fund these positions to keep the public safe. Once again, I congratulate Chief Blue in the Chapel Hill Police Department Director Shermeyer and the FBI Director Martin UCI and the state Crime lab with partnership Persistence and the power of DNA. We are sending powerful messages to the victims of crimes and their families that we will fight to deliver justice for you to the public. That we will do everything in our power to keep you safe and to the murderers and rapists. No matter how long ago you committed your crime we will never stop coming for you. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. Good afternoon. I'm caetano de very I'm the Durham County district Attorney because my office will be prosecuting this case before I begin my remarks. I have to say that ethical rules require me to tell you. I cannot tell you anything about the case. Um and that all defendants are presumed innocent until adjudicated guilty. Today we're thinking about faith family, her warren County community, her Halawa Scarponi community and her unc community. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to lose faith and such a sudden and tragic way and then to spend the next nine years almost to the day not knowing what happened. As the mother of young adult women myself. It breaks my heart today I joined the chapel hill P. D. And all the agencies present here to say that we are committed to getting you the answers and accountability that you deserve. I think one reason space passing hit this community so hard is that she was such a bright and promising young woman, a potential and her dreams of becoming a pediatrician and serving her community were cut short. And the only way we got to know her receive this tragic incident. Her case also brings home the devastating reality of violence against indigenous women In some communities. They face murder rates 10 times higher than the national average. Too often these cases and these women do not get the attention they deserve. As my friend Chief Blue has said before, face case never went home. The Chapel Hill Police Department has worked every angle and used every tool at their disposal to get us where we are today. While prosecutors are not usually involved in cases before they get charged. The Durham D. A. S. Office has been in contact with Chapel Hill Police as they have continued to collect evidence and we've worked collaboratively with law enforcement to support their efforts to identify the person responsible. I want to thank the Chapel Hill Police Department face family and everyone who refused to give up on this case. We have a long court process ahead. The Dermis D. A. S office will continue to work hard to find the truth and to keep face memory alive. I'm kevin Guskiewicz, the Chancellor at the University of north Carolina Chapel Hill And it's good to be with you on this difficult but important day for our community for this university and most importantly for faith family and from the beginning, we've been by your side and I'm glad that we can be here today, supporting you. So many of us can remember that tragic day hearing about faith in the awful loss of her life. Her murder shook our community nine years and nine days ago and we continue to feel the impact of her incredible spirit on our campus today. I'm grateful to the community partners for never giving up to the Chapel Hill Police Department and many other law enforcement agencies and investigators that took this case and persevered today. We're here to stand with faith family and loved ones to continue honoring her life and her memory. People talk about the stages of grief, but I found that the better metaphor is that grief comes in waves. We've lived with this reality and then a wave hits and we're right back to the overwhelming sadness and heartbreak. Today feels like another wave an important moment but still a feeling of deep sadness all over again. Roland Connie and all of faith, family and friends. We're here for you, Carolina is a different place because of faith. Her commitment to her fellow students are american indian community and her halawa Sapone tribal roots is felt by so many today. Faith was and continues to be a tar heel and we will never forget her. Thank you for allowing me to speak today. I'm mayor pam hemminger As a mother of four Children myself. I couldn't even imagine the feelings that you have this morning when you got the phone call. I know the feeling I had was of a sigh of relief, but also the pain again of what had tragically happened to faith in our community. Our hearts go out to face parents. Connie and Roland your siblings, her family as they're going to go through even another journey as we go through this case. Mhm Chapel Hill loves our unC students and we are all heartbroken over face death. We will not forget her lovely smile, her warmness and want you to know that her life mattered over the past nine years and nine days. A great many people have contributed to keeping her story alive in hopes of finding that missing piece that could bring justice for faith. Thousands of hours dedicated people have poured into this case and we're deeply grateful to everyone who had a part the officers, the investigators, that community members, the reporters, the family and the friends. They continue to search from an answer and never gave up today. Was based in our mind, we also want to assure Carolina parents that we know you entrust us with the safety of your students. When they come to Chapel Hill, we take that responsibility very seriously and are thankful to our Chapel Hill Police Department who believe in getting out into the community and building strong connections and doing everything they can do to be the guardians of the Hill. And on another note, Faith knew you loved her. She loves you and she wishes you piece to this journey as you find the answers and she will see you some good afternoon everyone. I'm Maurice jones Chapel Hill town Manager and I just wanted to take a moment to extend my condolences to Faith's family who has demonstrated incredible strength and resolve during the last nine years. We hope today's actions by the Chapel Hill Police Department will provide some level of healing as you continue to grieve your loss. I am grateful for the hard work of the men and women of the C. H. P. D. Her Guardians of the Hill. They are inspiring dedication to finding the perpetrator of this terrible crime, kept them going through some very challenging times. They followed every lead and they never gave up on this investigation. They were determined to have justice served for faith and for our community and they used a combination of advanced technology and old fashioned police work to get the job done and to make Chapel Hill a safer place for all of our residents. Thanks to Chief Blue Assistant Chief wahoo our talented group of investigators and our law enforcement partners on the local and state level for bringing some closure to this dark chapter in our town's history. Thank you. Thank you very much at this time, we will briefly open it up for questions once again, just to reiterate, this is this remains an active and ongoing investigation. Questions about the case itself will be limited. Um, but if you please go ahead and state your name and your affiliation and we'll open it up for questions joe fisher with WRL. I'm just interested to know if you can elaborate more on the relationship between the suspect and faith and if that suspect that has been arrested is also facing charges in connection with any kind of sexual assault as mentioned. Um it's very early after this arrest and information about the case is going to be limited at this time but more will be made available. So nothing on either of those pieces More will be made available at this case. As time goes on. Thank you. CBS seven tell us what the break in the case private that that one we have always used whatever DNA technology and resources are available to us. As for the pair Bond sketch the genotype that was released in 2016 characteristics described within that release and genotype do match that of our suspect. Yeah, maybe greater depth the process ancestry com or something like that. That link guys most feelings turn this entire time. Yeah. We've always used all of the DNA technology that's available to us and uh did so in order to come up with this profile and as more as we find out more information on the whereabouts of the suspect of the last nine years will be released. I think it. Uh huh. No me I think there's a lot of information about the case that is still yet to be said. that will come out in time. Yeah. Why the last, Yeah. So as as mentioned this uh this arrest just happened this morning. More information is gonna this is an active and ongoing investigation. Chapel police has protected that information throughout. And so that's gonna be necessary as we continue on for right now as well. Yeah. But for two six things we have press release will be coming out very momentarily. We'll have that for you difficult for crying. Yes. Yeah. Mhm. Faith was very well known in her community. She had an infectious personality. She had many many associates and friends. So I think over the course of the nine years there's been many um interviews and um you? Re looking at the case. And so it has uh it took us to today to find this additional information using those resources, those DNA resources that were available to us. And were you in the room yesterday when that match was made or when? And if you were. I'm just wondering what your such a long process and if it was a phone call to you, I'm just wondering what your reaction to this match came back. It was a phone call to me from our State Bureau of investigations partners. And I think that I can best describe it as joy. And you know I thought that that ache of empathy for faith and her family would be relieved. But it wasn't it was I think just a bunch of every emotion you can imagine. And then in terms of the investigation, I know you mentioned that sketch that did match the suspect that um Was arrested. How long have you known about that suspect? Was he a person of interest from the very beginning of this case? From day 1? No, he was not. At what year? At what point did he come into the picture? Sorry, uh more details as mentioned. Active ongoing investigation and necessity to protect the details of this case. Very good. I'm sorry erin uh wondering you mentioned that leads are still being pursued. Is there a possibility of additional arrests? Active and ongoing means that Chapel Police will will follow this to the to the end. It's amazing trying that probably uh just just arrested this morning. So um as we do with all arrests, that information will will come out as it normally does From Elena Athens with ACC 11 Send reference cases to be tried. Mhm. That's correct. So this is in the portion of Chapel Hill city limits. That is in Durham County. It's on old Durham Road where the the crime took place better yesterday. Right the FBI and the Chapel Police Department submitted a DNA sample to the state crime lab and we had of course the DNA profile from the original crime scene and there was a match generated with the sample that was provided. Uh I learned about this this morning and was filled with joy that there was some hope that at some point in the future this family can feel justice sorrow because recognizing that even if we successfully solve this crime, it will do nothing to bring faith back and pride in the state crime lab and the incredible dedication that the analysts demonstrate there on a daily basis on this case. But cases that are occurring all across the state and this DNA came from, from a sexual assault rape kit. I can't see anything more than what I've just said. Thank you. We'll take one more question. No. Mm I think at this time we want to, well, I would be very protective of the family um, and and details of that may come out at a later date, but we're here to support the family for sure. And as of right now, I'm sure there's a lot that they are working through at this time. So thank you all very much for additional questions. Of course, you have our contact information um, to follow up with us for follow up interviews. I'm sure that there will be some from the media. Please contact myself or community safety P. I. O. Alex Castillo, thank you all for coming out today. Thank you. Yeah. Okay.