No bond for man charged with 2012 murder of UNC-Chapel Hill student Faith Hedgepeth
Posted September 16, 2021 2:33 p.m. EDT
Updated September 20, 2021 5:21 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A man charged with first-degree murder in the 2012 death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student Faith Danielle Hedgepeth will remain in jail in Durham County without bond.
Chapel Hill police said Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares, 28, of Durham, was taken into police custody Thursday morning, more than nine years after the 19-year-old sophomore was beaten to death in her off-campus apartment.
The Hedgepeth family made a statement on the arrest in the case of her death, saying:
"Our Faith had a heart of gold and an infectious smile that illumined a room. Although her time on earth was short, Faith had an enormous impact on many. Our lives were forever changed when Faith was taken from us on September 7, 2012.
We are relieved to know that someone has been arrested in Faith’s case. We thank the members of the Chapel Hill Police Department, NC State Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies that had a hand in the investigation. We are grateful for all the support that we have received across the country over the past nine years. As we move into this next phase, we ask for your continued support, patience, and understanding as we limit commenting on the investigation.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers."
WRAL News asked police about the relationship between Hedgepeth and Salguero-Olivares, but authorities said they couldn't comment on that while the investigation was still active.
Hedgepeth's family was in a Durham courtroom to watch as Salguero-Olivares made his first court appearance virtually on Friday morning. It was decided that he will be represented by a public defender.
Hedgepeth was last seen alive around 4 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2012, when her roommate left their apartment at Hawthorne at the View on Old Durham Road in Chapel Hill.
Autopsy reports show she was beaten to death and sustained severe head injuries. Investigators said an empty liquor bottle was used in the crime.
Chapel Hill Assistant Police Chief Celisa Lehew said Thursday that Salguero-Olivares wasn't a person of interest in the beginning of the investigation.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said that the arrest came after the State Bureau of Investigation and the Chapel Hill Police Department submitted a DNA sample to the State Crime Lab that matched a DNA profile found at the original crime scene.
He declined to say how authorities obtained DNA from the suspect to match to the evidence.
"We had more than a dozen analysts work on this case at some point over the last nine years," said Stein.
According to the autopsy report, which police released in 2016, Hedgepeth's roommate returned approximately seven hours later and found her "covered by a blanket on top of her slightly askew mattress with large amounts of blood."
At that time, police described Hedgepeth 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 never said publicly if she had been sexually assaulted. DNA from the semen matched male DNA found elsewhere in the apartment.
Included in the information released in 2016 was a photo of a note that they believe was written by the killer that was found on Hedgepeth's bed. The note appeared to read "I'm Not Stupid (expletive) Jealous."
During Thursday's press conference, Hedgepeth's mother, Connie Hedgepeth, said she "cried tears of joy" after learning about the arrest.
"When I got the 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," she said.
"When Celisa [Lehew] called me today and told me they made an arrest, my mind ... I went right back to September 2012," said Roland Hedgepeth, Faith Hedgepeth's father. "It's been a long nine years and nine days. I want to thank God for allowing me to stay alive to see this day."
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said Thursday's arrest was "the next phase of the investigation."
"We will all want more answers and information than we will be able to provide you today," added Blue.
Salguero-Olivares' mother told WRAL News that he didn't attend UNC-Chapel Hill and didn't have many friends at the university.
"My son is not a murderer. I believe in my son. I believe it," she said. "He said he don't know the girl."
A family friend of Salguero-Olivares told WRAL that the act doesn't fit the person she knows, pointing to principles passed down from his parents and grandparents.
Salguero-Olivares turned down a WRAL request for an interview in jail.
Last month, Salguero-Olivares was charged in Wake County with driving while impaired, having an open container of alcohol, having a fictitious vehicle tag and having no license or insurance.
Several people were questioned at the time of Hedgepeth's death, and some offered DNA for testing. In the beginning of the investigation, police focused on several men, including the ex-boyfriend of Hedgepeth's roommate and a man she was last seen with outside a Chapel Hill nightclub 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.
In 2016, Chapel Hill police released a composite sketch and report that they believed could help identify the man responsible for Hedgepeth's murder. The 3D sketch, created by Parabon NanoLabs, uses facial features and potential ancestry determined by DNA samples.