Local News

UNC-Chapel Hill student's death shocks community

Posted September 7, 2012 4:02 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2012 8:39 p.m. EDT

— The apparent murder of 19-year-old Faith Danielle Hedgepeth in her Chapel Hill apartment resonated from her college campus to the tribe of Haliwa-Saponi in Warren County, where her family began the search for answers.

Hedgepeth was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Friends found her body Friday morning at her apartment at the Hawthorne on the View complex, at 5639 Old Chapel Hill Road. Police said that her death was a homicide, but they did not elaborate on how she died. They do not believe the crime was random.

That conclusion baffled friends and relatives of Hedgepeth at home in Hollister in Warren County. 

"I do not see how someone could do this to her," said Paige Evans of her aunt and friend.

"She was intelligent. She had everything going for her. She knew what she wanted in life, and she was going for it.”

Rev. Ronald Richardson, chief of the Haliwa-Saponi, said Hedgepeth was active in her church and her tribe. 

"Faith was very much involved in our tribal culture," he said. "This will reverberate throughout our community for weeks months and years. This will be diffcult to overcome.”

Richardson said he was flabbergasted to learn of her death. Fed Evans, another tribe member who considered Faith like a granddaughter, said, "I am very hurt right now, and I hope they catch whoever did it."

His wife, Katie Evans, said Hedgepeth had plans to become a doctor. She was a biology major at UNC.  

The university sent an alert to students, faculty and staff. "Law enforcement officials do not believe that there is danger to other students," Chancellor Holden Thorp wrote.

Fellow student Graham Hawks compared UNC to a family, saying, "The closer people are to you when something terrible happens to them, the more you feel it. UNC is a pretty tight-knit school," he said.

The Chapel Hill Police Department has established a tip-line for anyone with information related to this investigation. Anyone with information is urged to call 919-614-6363. Callers who wish to remain anonymous will be allowed to do so. Individuals may also contact Crime Stoppers at 942-7515.