Local News

Newly released docs detail police's case in UNC student's murder

Posted September 5, 2014 12:02 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2016 12:05 p.m. EDT

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student died as the result of a severe beating to the head, according to an autopsy report made public Friday, nearly two years to the day after she was found dead by her roommate in their off-campus apartment.

The 15-page report found Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, 19, suffered extensive skull fractures and cuts to her face and head, and she was also badly beaten on her arms and legs.

The document was among hundreds of pages of notes, search warrants and court orders unsealed in an effort by Chapel Hill police to generate new leads in the unsolved murder investigation.

"We have excellent evidence. We have a really good case," Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said. "We just need to connect this really good case with the killer."

Police had said very little about the case until Thursday, when they released several new details that included a photo of a note that they believe was written by the killer that was found on Hedgepeth's bed. It appears to read, "I'm Not Stupid (expletive) Jealous."

Hedgepeth was last seen alive around 4 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2012, police have said, when her roommate left their apartment at Hawthorne at the View on Old Durham Road in Chapel Hill.

According to the autopsy report, the roommate returned approximately seven hours later and found Hedgepeth "covered by a blanket on top of her slightly askew mattress with large amounts of blood."

Blue on Thursday described her as being positioned on the floor, leaning against the bed, with her shirt pulled up and no clothes from the waist down. There was a pool of blood near her body and blood spatter on the wall and the bedroom closet door.

Investigators found semen on Hedgepeth, but they have not said if she had been sexually assaulted before she was killed. DNA from the semen matched male DNA found elsewhere in the apartment.

According to the newly released warrants, detectives initially focused their investigation on several men – including the ex-boyfriend of Hedgepeth's roommate as well as a man she was last seen with outside a Chapel Hill night club called The Thrill hours before she died.

Warrants revealed that police learned that the ex-boyfriend allegedly resented Hedgepeth because of the influence she had over her roommate. Detectives say in the warrants that he told Hedgepeth he was going to kill her if the roommate didn't get back together with him.

On Sept. 6, 2012, the ex-boyfriend sent a text message to someone and also posted a message to someone on Twitter "asking them to forgive him for what he was about to do," according to the documents.

Three days after Hedgepeth's slaying, the warrants also reveal, he changed the cover photo of his Facebook page to a statement that asked God to forgive him of his sins and to "protect me from the girls who don't deserve me and the ones who wish me dead today."

The other man mentioned in the unsealed documents initially refused to give DNA but, when asked a second time, complied with police's request.

A Chapel Hill police spokesman declined to say Friday if the two men, as well as several others referenced in the 299 pages of documents, have been cleared as suspects.

Investigators have said, however, that they've collected hundreds of samples of DNA and that they're investigation has taken them outside North Carolina.

Anyone with information about the case can call police at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

A $40,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Hedgepeth's killer, and three investigators with the Chapel Hill Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation continue to work exclusively on the case.

"We really want to bring some peace to Faith's family," Blue said. "This has been two unimaginable years for them."

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt wrote in an email sent to students, faculty and staff that the university has been cooperating fully with police and that she is hopeful that the new information about the case will lead to a quick resolution.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hedgepeth family as they grieve and cope with these reminders of such a painful loss," she said in the email.

The campus on is marking the second anniversary of her death with a moment of silence at noon on Monday outside the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.