'Your days are numbered:' Family has message for Faith Hedgepeth's killer six years after UNC student's death

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018
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Pictures of Faith Hedgepeth are all over her sister, Rolanda's, home.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Pictures of Faith Hedgepeth are all over her sister, Rolanda's, home.

"She always had this huge smile. I used to laugh at her and say, 'you just look crazy,'" Rolanda told ABC11 ahead of the anniversary of her sister's tragic death.

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It's memories like those that Rolanda holds close, especially a photo of Faith at a wedding party two weeks before the 19-year-old UNC sophomore student was beaten, raped and killed inside her off-campus apartment.

On Sept. 7, 2012, Faith's roommate, Karena Rosario, and a friend discovered her dead. Six years later Faith's killer is still unknown.


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"I tell her I miss her a lot," Rolanda said.

Over the years, people who were around Faith leading up to her death have been interviewed and investigated-with no arrests.

Although time has passed, Chapel Hill Police Chief of Investigations Celisa Lehew says her team is working on Faith's case every day, and have confidence it will be solved.

"We have some very specific evidence in this case," said Lehew.

Some of that specific evidence includes a threatening message on a take-out bag found in Faith's apartment, a broken rum bottle believed to be the murder weapon and semen found in a sex assault kit matching other DNA at the scene. Police believe it belongs to Hedgepeth's killer.

Two years ago, police released a sketch of Faith's killer based on that DNA.

"I think it's a very important piece," Lehew said.

And then there's genetic genealogy testing.

Within this past year, detectives have been working with scientists at Parabon Nanolabs to compare the killer's DNA to DNA stored in public databases.

The new service launched in May.


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To date, the company has successfully helped law enforcement agencies across the country positively identify nine suspects in crimes.

A new tool police are exploring, including several possible motives for Hedgepeth's murder.

"It's a part of and a piece of-and you have to put all of those things together to find your suspect or person of interest," said Lehew.

Pieces that may solve this puzzle after six years. That's Rolanda's prayer as she uses her sister's legacy this anniversary to award college scholarships to young women like Faith.

"She just loved making a difference in people's lives."

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ABC 11 asked Rolanda Hedgepeth what her message would be to the person or persons responsible for Faith's death.

"Your days are numbered. You will not get away with it," she said.

There's a $40,000 cash reward for information that could lead to an arrest.

If anyone has information that they wish to provide, you are asked to contact investigators at 919-614-6363. If you call this number, you will speak directly to one of the investigators who are assigned to this case and are familiar with it. You may reach the voicemail, to which police ask you leave a message and someone will return your call. Please only call this number with information regarding this case. Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous is asked to contact Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515 or at http://www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.