Hedgepeth Slaying Records Remain Sealed; Police Quiet

Nine months after the death of Faith Hedgepeth, little information remains available to the public. Hedgepeth, a junior at UNC, was found dead in her off-campus apartment in Durham on Sept. 7. Police have been investigating the death as a homicide.

In January, DNA taken by FBI investigators indicated the Chapel Hill police had a suspect — a male who was familiar with Hedgepeth, was unaccounted for around the time of the killing and may have made comments about her to associates.

Police have made no arrests and have disclosed little additional information.

On May 14, Superior Court Judge Orlando F. Hudson Jr. ’75, who also earned his law degree from UNC in 1978, ordered the records sealed for an additional 60 days. The district attorney had told the court that a release could hurt the integrity of the investigation, which is being handled jointly by the Chapel Hill police and the district attorney’s office in Durham.

“The court finds that there is a preponderance of evidence to believe that the release of the information contained in the court order and application would undermine the ongoing criminal investigation,” Hudson’s decision states.

The documents now will remain sealed until mid-July, at which point the district attorney could release them or argue to have them remain sealed.

Chapel Hill police spokesman Joshua Mecimore said the district attorney’s office would be handling updates to the public throughout the rest of the investigation.

“They’re being involved in the investigation process because they’re the ones that will eventually have to prosecute the suspects,” Mecimore said.

The records include all investigative documents, recordings and 911 calls in the case.

While the evidence gave police some leads, Mecimore said more analysis needs to be completed on DNA from the crime scene.

“We are still following up leads,” Mecimore said. “A common question we get is, ‘Is it a cold case?’ And it’s not.”

He added that while police do not believe Hedgepeth’s slaying was a random crime, they urge members of the public always to be cognizant of their safety.

“We’ve never said that there’s no threat — we have only said that we don’t believe that this is a random attack,” he said. “This situation probably highlights the need to be vigilant when it comes to your safety.”

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