Faith Hedgepeth rape-murder: Suspect arrested 9 years after UNC sophomore's death
Police have made an arrest in the 2012 rape and murder case of a 19-year-old UNC sophomore, Faith Hedgepeth
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA: A suspect has been arrested 9 years after Faith Hedgepeth's bruised and battered body was found in her off-campus apartment by a friend. Police have made an arrest in the 2012 rape and murder case of the 19-year-old University of North Carolina (UNC) sophomore. According to reports, a 28-year-old man from Durham, Miguel Enrique Oliveras is arrested in connection with Faith Hedgepeth's murder.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue announced the arrest on Thursday, September 16. Assistant Police Chief Celisa Lehew informed that Miguel Enrique Oliveras is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Faith Hedgepeth. Oliveras is being held at the Durham County Detention Center without bond.
The Assistant Police Chief Lehew said, "This investigation is not complete. Our work is not done, " and noted that Olivares was not a suspect in the case at the beginning of the investigation. Faith’s mother, Connie Hedgepeth spoke after the arrest on Thursday and said, "When I got the news this morning, I didn’t do anything but cry and thank God and praise God." She thanked the Chapel Hill Police Department and SBI for their work and added, "When I cried, it was tears of joy, tears of relief that someone had been arrested." North Carolina governor, Roy Cooper released a statement over the latest development in the case that said, "Thanks to the NC State Bureau of Investigation, the State Crime Lab, Chapel Hill Police and other law enforcement who worked relentlessly and have never given up on solving the murder of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth more than 9 years ago. Arrest made this morning."
Thanks to the NC State Bureau of Investigation, the State Crime Lab, Chapel Hill Police and other law enforcement who worked relentlessly and have never given up on solving the murder of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth more than 9 years ago. Arrest made this morning. - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) September 16, 2021
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein noted that detectives and SBI agents conducted thousands of interviews as part of the investigation. Hedgepeth’s body was found sitting upright in a pool of blood. Stein informed that 13 analysts at the State Crime Lab worked on the case through 53 submissions of evidence and analyzed 229 different samples to rule out suspects. Stein further added that law enforcement provided a sample to the State Crime Lab which was able to create a DNA profile derived from the original crime scene. According to reports, police found a note written on a fast-food takeout bag at the crime scene that read, "I’m not stupid" followed by the words "bitch" and "jealous". Investigators recovered DNA from semen collected through a sexual assault kit at the crime scene.
A major breakthrough came in the case when Parabon NanoLabs created a composite sketch of a suspect based solely on DNA and not eyewitnesses in 2016. The suspect, according to the sketch was described as having olive skin, brown or hazel eyes, black hair and few or no freckles, reports say. Lehew informed on Thursday that the composite sketch created by Parabon matches the suspect arrested in the case. No information about the relation between the murder victim and the suspect was known at the moment.