Murdered UNC student's parents break silence

Faith Danielle Hedgepeth (Image courtesy American Indian Center at UNC-Chapel Hill)
February 25, 2013 8:19:15 PM PST
For the first time, the parents of a murdered UNC student are going on camera.

Five months after Faith Hedgepeth's death, the search for her killer goes on.

Now, Hedgepeth's parents are helping to put a voice to the face of a murder mystery.

The voice of Faith Hedgepeth can be her on a message left just a few days before her brutal murder.

"Hey daddy! I love you a lot and I'm sorry I missed your call. And, I love you a lot and I guess I'll talk to you later. Bye," said Faith on a voicemail message.

"Every day I see her being murdered, I don't know how to explain it, but it won't go away," said Faith's father Roland Hedgepeth.

Roland and Connie Hedgepeth are still struggling to cope.

"I never knew the meaning of a broken heart until my baby died, until someone killed her," said Connie Hedgepeth.

The UNC student was found in her Chapel Hill apartment last September. Her family describes the scene as horrifically bloody. Their Faith was brutally beaten to death.

"I just don't understand what possessed someone one to go crazy at night or one crazy morning... to go in and do that to her," said Connie.

There's so many questions still unanswered.

"Then not knowing all of what she went through. Not knowing hopefully she maybe died at the first blow. But, what did she go through before even that because we don't know, because we can't be told," said Connie.

The family can't be told because Chapel Hill police say the high-profile case is so sensitive. They will only assure the campus, and the public, it wasn't the random act of a stranger. They're confident that DNA evidence found at the scene will soon lead them to the killer.

Faith's dad says that's good enough for him.

"It's not that I have to believe that. I choose to believe that," said Roland. "They promised me they would find whoever did this and I'm holding them to their word."

Roland Hedgepeth is wondering himself who it could possibly be.

"I've never known Faith to have any enemies," he said. "Unless there was someone jealous of her or jealous for her -- those would be the only types of enemies I've ever known about her."

Roland said that's because Faith was driven, driven to succeed at UNC after leaving her small Haliwa-Saponi tribal community on the Halifax-Warren county line. Her dream was to become a doctor, and return to help the tribe one day.

But after a disappointing semester, she had to take a break, get a job, and move in with a roommate. That roommate later had a domestic dispute with a boyfriend.

"I wouldn't have wanted her to be in that situation," said Roland.

While never named a person of interest, the roommate's boyfriend recently tweeted that he was "no longer a suspect" in Faith's murder.

Meanwhile, the I-Team has learned that Faith's own romantic life may be part of the investigation.

"She was developing into a remarkable young woman," said Roland. "At the same time, she still had the heart of a child. She was very trusting -- probably na?ve in some ways because of that.

So did Faith trust the wrong person? Her parents say she showed no signs of tension or fear the day of her murder.

"To hear, you know, the people that talked to her or saw her, it was just her happy go lucky... just going on with her normal day," said Connie.

She'd studied with a classmate at the library, and stopped by the Native American sorority on campus. Finally, she hung out with friends at a Chapel Hill club.

"I don't know if there was any trouble," said Connie.

It's a painful mystery for both parents. Faith's father deals with it through poetry. While Faith's mother worries about what was left unsaid.

"I was going to have a conversation with her and tell her to never give up on her dreams," said Connie.

Both cling to Faith's words.

"Her last words were, 'Don't worry daddy. Just have faith,'" said Roland.

Just this past weekend, the family held a fundraiser for Faith.

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