DNA Evidence Provides Break in Native Student's Murder Case

DNA evidence released by the Chapel Hill Police Department has provided a clue to what happened to Native American student Faith Hedgepeth.

DNA found at the scene of Faith Hedgepeth’s murder may help police identify her assailant.

Hedgepeth, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, was found dead in her off-campus apartment at about 11 a.m. on Friday, September 7, 2012. She was last seen alive at about 3 a.m. that day, after she and her roommate returned home from a nightclub.

DNA and other evidence collected at the crime scene points to a male suspect who likely knew Hedgepeth and may have lived nearby, the Chapel Hill Police Department announced today in a press release.

“We are not commenting further,” Sgt. Joshua Mecimore said.

The press release is the first official word from the police department in months. Police have not named a suspect or made any arrests.

Chapel Hill police partnered with local, state and federal agencies to investigate the murder. Evidence collected at the scene and analyzed by the state crime lab revealed DNA left at the scene belonged to a male suspect.

Police “are confident this DNA will identify the offender and help us to exclude individuals not involved in this crime,” the press release states.

Chapel Hill police and the FBI have released a profile of the killer. They are looking for a man who knew Hedgepeth, was unaccounted for during the early morning hours of September 7 and may have made comments about Hedgepeth.

Police also believe there may have been some change in the suspect’s behavior after the murder—including an unusual interest in the case—or a change in his performance at work or school.

The Hedgepeth family issued a statement on the investigation.

“We, the family, are relieved the police department has done this release and we’re confident Faith’s murderer will be charged,” the family told WTVD-TV, a local ABC affiliate.

A total of $39,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information about the crime can call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515.

Related articles:

Family, Community Await Arrest in UNC-Chapel Hill Murder Case, Governor Increases Reward

Arrest Still Not Made in UNC-Chapel Hill Murder of Native Student

Murdered Native UNC-Chapel Hill Student Remembered by Friends, Family and Tribe