Autopsy shows brutality of Faith Hedgepeth murder

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Newly released court documents in the Faith Hedgepeth murder reveal a number of men linked to the victim have been investigated but not tied to the crime. (WTVD)

A batch of court documents released Friday in the Faith Hedgepeth murder case included the autopsy, which shows the brutal way in which the 19-year-old UNC student was murdered in her off-campus apartment in 2012.

The autopsy says Hedgepeth was beaten to death in an extremely violent attack. Her family told ABC11 she was raped.

The nearly 300 pages of documents also includes information on at least four men who have been on police radar in the case - none have been charged.

The autopsy says a bottle that was normally kept in the kitchen was found in the bedroom with tissue fragments and DNA on it. Search warrants say a wine bottle and a Bacardi bottle were collected into evidence at the scene.



The document release came a day after Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue held a round of media interviews just days before the 2-year anniversary of the killing in an attempt to draw fresh attention to the case and possibly drum up fresh clues.

"Anyone reading about this story or watching it on TV that saw anything, heard anything, knows anything - no matter how seemingly insignificant it may be - we want them to call us," said Chief Blue.

Until this week, police had released very little information in the case and battled in court to keep investigative records that are normally made public sealed.

Chief Blue told reporters Thursday that the case has not gone cold and his detectives and SBI investigators have very good evidence that will help them catch the killer.

On the morning of September 7, 2012, Hedgepeth's roommate Karena Rosario came home to find Hedgepeth dead. In a 911 call, she told an operator that there was "blood everywhere."

Investigators said Hedgepeth's body was in a bedroom. It was leaning against a bed with her shirt pulled up. She was unclothed from the waist down.

In addition to blood pooled around the body, it was spattered on the wall and a closet door - indicating the violence of the attack.

On the bed next to the body was a handwritten note scrawled on a bag from a fast-food restaurant. It reads "I'm not stupid" followed by "bitch" and "jealous".

In addition to the autopsy indicating Hedgepeth was raped, police said a sex assault kit found the presence of semen. Investigators say DNA from that semen matched other DNA evidence collected at the scene. Detectives say they believe the DNA belongs to Hedgepeth's killer and they believe the killer wrote the note.

THE NIGHT OF THE MURDER

Police on Thursday also released a step-by-step documentation of where Hedgepeth was in the hours before she died.

The evening began with Hedgepeth and Rosario at the Davis Library on the UNC campus. They got home just after midnight and then went back out.

They arrived at the Wallace Parking Deck on East Rosemary Street just before 1 a.m. and walked to a bar called The Thrill - a Chapel Hill nightspot that has since gone out of business.

Hedgepeth and Rosario left the bar together at 2:38 a.m. and drove back to the Old Durham Road apartment in Hedgepeth's white Nissan Altima. Police say Rosario left the apartment again at 4:27 a.m. She returned at approximately 11 a.m. with a friend and found Hedgepeth's body.

DNA EVIDENCE

With such strong DNA evidence in the case, investigators have collected samples from hundreds of men, but so far have not come up with a match.

"What we lack is that key piece of information that can help us connect the strong case with the killer," said Chief Blue.

There is over $40,000 in reward money available.

Anyone with information is asked to call investigators on their 24-hour hotline at (919) 614-6363. To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers at (919) 942-7515 or log on to www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.

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