Local News

Lack of arrest in UNC student's slaying has neighbors concerned

Posted September 14, 2012 7:13 a.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2012 8:35 p.m. EDT

Faith Hedgepeth

— A week after the death of a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student, police have not released any more information about the apparent homicide – something that is worrying those who live near the 19-year-old's apartment complex.

Investigators say they haven't developed any suspects in the death of Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, whose body was found in her apartment at Hawthorne View Apartments on Sept. 7.

They have said that they don't believe the crime was random but have declined to say anything else.

Still, neighbors say a lack of information and the fact that police haven't made an arrest is causing them to grow concerned.

They would like answers.

"It's evolved from, 'It's not random,' to 'OK, there's going to be an arrest. Something's going to happen. It was an isolated incident,' to 'There's been no arrest, no news, nothing,’" said Anna Salomon.

Salomon and her husband live in the subdivision next to the complex where Hedgepeth was killed. They say neighbors now collectively walk their children to the bus stop.

"It's not a reassuring thought to wonder if you can send your kids safely to the bus stop or if something could happen," Salomon said. "I definitely would like more information."

Although Chapel Hill police have released little information, they say they are tirelessly working to solve the case.

Steve Hale, a retired homicide detective not involved in the case, says the tight-lipped nature of the investigation isn't uncommon, because releasing pertinent details to the case could compromise the integrity of the probe.

Until police have enough evidence to make an arrest, he said, it's important to keep quiet the details, such as cause of death or a possible murder weapon.

Interviews and tips that haven’t been influenced by media reports are crucial.

"If there is a suspect, he may not know he's a suspect, and they're waiting for him to get careless and maybe make a comment to an accessory after the fact," Hale, now a private investigator, said.

As for a crime that isn't random, Hale said he believes detectives might suspect someone who knew Hedgepeth or had a distinct motive.

Investigators, however, are asking that anyone who thinks they might have information that could help to call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

A reward of nearly $30,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case, including $25,000 from UNC-Chapel Hill's Board of Trustees.

Meanwhile, Warren High School in Warrenton held a memorial Friday evening in Hedgepeth's honor.

The junior biology major, who talked about possibly becoming a doctor, was a 2010 graduate of the school.