UNC marks second anniversary of Hedgepeth's unsolved murder
Posted September 8, 2014 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2014 6:39 p.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday marked the second anniversary of the death of Faith Hedgepeth with a moment of silence and a new effort to help find whoever is responsible for killing her.
Chancellor Carol Folt and Hedgepeth's parents were among approximately 200 people in attendance inside the Frank Porter Graham Student Union for the noon observance and for the launch of a social media campaign, #JusticeForFaith.
Hedgepeth was 19 years old when her roommate found her body in their off-campus apartment Sept. 7, 2012. An autopsy report released last week said she died from a severe beating to her head.
Monday's remembrance was an emotional and somber one as members of Alpha Pi Omega remembered their friend.
"Everyone has pretty charged emotions about Faith and feel like it just happened yesterday," said Randi Byrd, coordinator for the American Indian Center, an organization with which Hedgepeth had been involved. "So, we needed a place to come together, a time to come together as a community to heal, because until there are answers, there's not going to be healing or closure."
The #JusticeForFaith campaign, Byrd said, is their way to not only keep attention on the case but to show solidarity and support Hedgepeth's family.
"It's to help raise awareness but also to show just how many people care, how many people are with the family and to really put pressure on the person or persons responsible," Byrd said.
That's heartwarming and a comfort for Hedgepeth's parents, who initially decided against showing up Monday.
"I just felt the need that I needed to be here for my baby," her mother, Connie Hedgepeth, said. "If they thought enough of her to do this for her, I can make the sacrifice and come here and be here for her too."
Monday's remembrance comes just days after Chapel Hill police released new details in the unsolved murder investigation in an effort to generate new leads – details family and friends said Monday have been difficult for them to accept.
"It's probably been the second worst week in my life," her father, Roland Hedgepeth, said. "The first was when it happened two years ago. It hasn't been easy."
Just hours before her death, Hedgepeth and her roommate had been at a Chapel Hill nightclub called The Thrill. They returned home shortly before 3 a.m., but the roommate left the apartment again around 4:30 a.m.
When the roommate returned about seven hours later, Hedgepeth was dead in her bedroom with a handwritten note on the bed that appears to read, "I'm Not Stupid (expletive) Jealous."
Hundreds of pages of search warrants, notes and court orders released Friday show police investigated several men who knew her, including her roommate's ex-boyfriend and a man she was seen with outside The Thrill when she left.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said Thursday that investigators also have collected hundreds of DNA samples but have found no match to evidence found in Hedgepeth's apartment. Their probe into the case has also taken them across state lines and is worked on exclusively by detectives and agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
A $40,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Although he was unsure of a number, a police spokesman said Monday that investigators have received a number of calls and tips since the release of the new details.
Anyone with information is still urged to call police at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.
"I believe there's something so simple missing in this case to tie it all together," Roland Hedgepeth said.