CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Faith Hedgepeth's parents finally received the call they've been praying would come for years.
"When I got the news this morning, I didn't do anything, but cry," said Faith's mother Connie Hedgepeth. "When I cried, it was tears of joy, tears of relief knowing that someone had been arrested."
A suspect was in custody, charged with their daughter's death.
"It's been a long nine years," said Faith's father, Roland Hedgepeth. "My mind went right back to September 12, 2012, and I couldn't function. I couldn't think."
Both parents feel blessed after dealing with the pain of losing a child.
"I want to thank God for this day, that He allowed me to stay alive and see this day," Roland Hedgepeth said.
Just nine days ago, there was a vigil on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus honoring Faith.
Cheyenne Daniel organized it for North Carolina students and grieving members of the American Indian community.
"For Faith, for the brutality of her murder, (it) just touched me," said Daniel. "I pray for Faith all the time. Regularly, every day, she's on my mind."
Faith Hedgepeth had come to UNC with dreams of becoming a pediatrician and was hoping to someday serve her tribal community.
"Carolina is a different place because of Faith. Her commitment to her fellow students, her American-Indian community and her Haliwa-Saponi tribal roots is felt by so many today," said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.
Her family is preparing for the next step.
"Everything will be revealed what happened that morning of Faith's death, so I just ask everyone to continue to keep us in your prayers," said Connie Hedgepeth.
Several law enforcement officials also said the case has been an emotional journey, and they were determined not to give up.