The Murder of Faith Hedgepeth

On the morning of September 7, 2012, Native American biology major, Faith Hedgepeth, 19, was found brutally beaten to death.  She was a student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and lived with a friend in an off campus apartment.

faith-hedgepeth

Faith Hedgepeth

The night before, Faith had spent the evening in the Davis Library with her roommate, Karena Rosario.  Afterwards, the two girls went to a nightclub called The Thrill and then returned back to the apartment at around 2:30am.

Faith’s roommate, Karena, left the apartment in the early morning hours and returned around 11:00 am to find Faith “covered by a blanket on top of her slightly askew mattress with large amounts of blood.”

Faith had been killed by blunt force trauma to the head, and evidence of the altercation was littered throughout the room.  Karena told the 911 operator that there “there were items in the room that were not hers and that it looked like someone else had been there.”

Faith was found “positioned on the floor, leaning against the bed, with her shirt pulled up and no clothes from the waist down.”  Police found semen on Faith and it was reported that “DNA from the semen matched male DNA found elsewhere in the apartment.”  There was also a small white paper bag found on the bed with the words, “I’M NOT STUPID   BITCH   JEALOUS” scrawled across it.  Police believe that this note was written by her killer.

But, what could have precipitated such a personal murder in those early morning hours between around 4:30 and 11:00am? And, with the abundance of evidence, how has Faith’s murderer not been apprehended over the last four years?


 

 

TIMELINE

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Approximately 7:30 pm – 12:00 am:  Faith Hedgepeth and Karena Rosario are at UNC’s Davis Library.  At 12am, they return back to their apartment together.

Friday, September 7, 2012

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The dance floor at The (now closed) Thrill according to a Yelp review

Around 1:00 am:  Faith and Karena arrive at a nightclub, called The Thrill, where they meet up with friends and dance for a while.

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Karena Rosario and Faith Hedgepeth

2:38 am:  The girls leave the bar and head back to their apartment.  Karena felt sick from drinking too much and wanted to return.  Faith helps Karena and then falls asleep.

3:40 am:  A text message is sent from Faith’s phone to Karena’s ex-boyfriend, Brandon Edwards.  It reads:

Hey b. can you come over here please. Karena needs you more aha. You know. Please let her know you care.

3:43 am:  The word “Than” is texted to Brandon from Faith’s phone.  It has been suggested that she was simply correcting the first text to read “Karena needs you more *than* you know.”

4:27 am:  Karena is picked up by a friend and leaves the apartment.  It is reported that Karena did see Faith sleeping.  Karena stays at a friend’s house until midmorning.

Around 11:00 am:  Karena returns and finds Faith dead on Karena’s bed in Karena’s bedroom, according to her 911 call.

4:16 pm: Brandon Edwards texts back, “Who is this?”

September 2014:  Two years afterwards, police release documents relating to the investigation which are heavily redacted.  The note found on the bed is revealed.


 

Suspects and Inconsistencies

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Interestingly, the police reported that Karena returned with a friend to discover Faith’s body.  However, Karena consistently replies to the 911 operator’s statements about Karena waiting for the police alone, without mentioning the presence of her friend.  Karena reiterates “I just walked into my apartment” several times, and there seems to be no side comments between her and the friend, or any noise from the friend on the recording at all.

Police ultimately questioned and DNA tested many of the men that Faith and Karena had seen that night.  They attempted to test as many men from the nightclub as possible, yet there have been no matching DNA results.

An ex-boyfriend of Karena Rosario, Eriq Takoy Jones, stood out as a prime suspect almost immediately.  Faith had taken Karena to get a restraining order against Eriq after a violent incident in which he had “reportedly kicked two doors in the apartment off their frames.”  Faith told a friend that Eriq hated her and had threatened to kill her if Karena did not get back together with him.  He also lived in the same apartment complex, and made some cryptic statements on social media and in a text to a friend; however, these items could be dismissed as in reference to something else or a not-so-eloquent admission of having treated Faith and Karena poorly in the past.

cropped-faith-danielle-17.jpgHowever, Eriq was very cooperative with police and ultimately cleared as not matching the DNA left on the crime scene.  For his part, Eriq stated to news reporters that “From what I knew of her [Hedgepeth], she was the sweetest person in the world.  If you needed her and she could do it, she was there.”  He went on to say:

“I’ll be honest with you, whoever did this deserves to burn.”

Another ex-boyfriend of Karena Rosario, Brandon Edwards, to whom the last texts on Faith’s phone were sent, was revealed to have been present at The Thrill that night.  He had also, according to police records, spent the night on the couch in Faith and Karena’s apartment the night of September 5th (one night before the murder).  It seems odd that Brandon did not have Faith’s number programmed in his phone, or even recognize that Faith would have been the one texting him about Karena, considering he had stayed at their apartment and was determined to have “had contact” with the girls at the nightclub.


 

The Note

According to police, the note found in the center of the bed was written on a white paper bag and has heavily been referred to by media as a “fast-food” type of bag.  Police believe it was written by Faith’s killer.  The note seems to be specifically referring to a past situation in which the killer was called or assumed to be stupid by the victim.

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A handwriting analyst for Crime Watch Daily indicated that the handwriting does appear to have been “written with disguise” and seemed to have been written with a non-dominant hand.

Many people have pointed out that the note is disjointed and messy.  The handwriting seems childlike, and the statement doesn’t fully make sense as it ends in an adjective.

I’M NOT STUPID

BITCH

JEALOUS

There is a lot of speculation in mystery forums that the usage of the word “jealous” and the handwriting (the P in stupid) seems particularly feminine.

Interestingly, though the crime scene was horrifically bloody, the note appears to be fairly clean and free of blood.  This seems to indicate that the note was pre-written before the attack, or after the attack in somewhere other than the immediate area of the crime scene.  If so, who is the killer speaking to in the note?  The dead victim? Possibly, Karena who will find Faith?  The note does not seem to be for the police or the public– the usage of “bitch” and “jealous” makes it very personal.  And what, specifically, had happened that the killer was referring to?


 

The Voicemail

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In 2015, Crime Watch Daily released a segment regarding an apparent ‘butt dial’ call made from Faith Hedgepeth’s phone at 1:23am on the morning of her murder which recorded a almost three minute long, unintelligible voicemail.  Though the timestamp would put Faith at The Thrill during this time period, Crime Watch Daily argues that the time could have been incorrect due to a glitch.

Arlo West, President and CEO of Creative Forensic Services, who is certified in enhancement, authentication, and analysis of both audio and video by the New York Institute of Forensic Audio, and has over 30 years of experience in the audio and film industry, claimed to have deciphered a lot of the garbled noises in the message.  He created a harrowing interpretation of the sounds that Crime Watch Daily reported “could have been the final moments of Faith’s life.”  Arlo West is convinced that the names Rosie and Eriq are used throughout the voicemail.

The following transcript of the enhanced voicemail was posted by local journalist, Tom Gasparoli, who maintains a blog on the Faith Hedgepeth murder:

Female: You want to mess with my boyfriend?
Faith: I said I don’t want to Rosie.
Female: Oh right. it’s not his fault.
Male: All of this bullshit you’re gonna answer to {inaudible}
Female: Fuck you. I’m pissed {inaudible}
Male: {inaudible} good thing {inaudible} Dave’s house. It would be broadcast Big Mike?
Female: You mother fucker.
Faith: No.
Male: {Inaudible}
Female: You were just bullshitting {inaudible}.
Male: What kind of person {inaudible} lie?
Faith: {inaudible} even know.
Male: Did you fuck your own {inaudible} obsession?
Faith: I didn’t do it.
Male: This is all {inaudible} fucking her good {inaudible} her description.
Female: Why?
Male: You {inaudible} because it belongs to you. Fucking bullshit story {inaudible} you personaly. {inaudible}
Female: I’m gonna kick your face bitch. I figured out that’s bullshit.
Female: Don’t ever think that I would have believed you. Lie’s {inaudible} at you {inaudible}
Faith: Ow.
Female: Ow {mocking} {inaudible}
Female: Your talk sure ain’t funny. You know, he’s gonna {inaudible} you and fuck you. I will fuck you bitch.
Faith: {inaudible scream}
Female: Um hm.
Faith: Let me go.
Male {inaudible} her {inaudible}
Faith: Help me.
Female: Don’t be a pussy put up a fight.
Male: {inaudible} let’s put the fucking {inaudible} to her.
Male: Then you fuck her I’ll {inaudible}
Male: {inaudible} I’ll fuck her {inaudible}
Faith: {inaudible} ow my head.
Female: {inaudible} do it.
Male: {inaudible} I think she’s dying.
Male: Do it anyhow.
Male: {inaudible} get the duct tape next to {inaudible} then they can tie up Faith.
Faith: Please {inaudible} me. My hands are on fire. Help.
Male: Put her hands behind her head.
Male: I’ll untie them. Her hands look like they’re on fire. {inaudible} I’ve got to hide them.
Faith: I can’t believe that you really did it Rosie.
Female: Really?
Male: To our next victim. {inaudible}
Female: Alright.
Male: Just throw it in the river.
Male {inaudible} fucking stupid people.
Faith: Just wait.
Female: {inaudible} glove.
Male: {rapping} because you don’t want to {inaudible} me when the {inaudible}. So I can use the {inaudible} baby {inaudible}
Female: {inaudible} like you too {inaudible} rap.
Male: {rapping} Go with me. Go with me. {inaudible}
Male {rapping} {inaudible} like the way you want to be {inaudible} Cause all this shit you lied about {inaudible} and call you dead.
Female: {inaudible}
Male: {rapping} {inaudible} Rosie {inaudible}I love you please {inaudible} now. {inaudible}
Female: You liar. You intentionally lied.
Male: Hey {inaudible} set that fuck back up, Bitch.
Faith: {inaudible}
Male {rapping} to go. {inaudible} liar.
Male: {inaudible}
Male: No way {inaudible} idiot {inaudible}
Faith: {inaudible} get off of me.
Male: Shut your mouth. {inaudible} fuck {inaudible} Rosie.
Female: {inaudible} to go help Erik
Male: But I’ll fuck her {inaudible}
Female: {inaudible} just let {inaudible}
Male: {inaudible} under her hips.
Female: {inaudible}
Faith: {inaudible} fuck you.
Male: {inaudible}
Female: {inaudible}
Male: {inaudible} back up.
Male: {inaudible}
Faith: {inaudible} get off of me.
Male: {inaudible}
Female: {inaudible}
Male: {inaudible} I don’t know.
Faith {inaudible} Ow
Female: Sit up and {inaudible}
Male: {inaudible}
Faith: {scream} Help.
Male: {rapping} Because {inaudible} seems to be the one {inaudible} you.
Female: Fuck you.
Male: {inaudible} Now I’ll fuck her.
Female: {inaudible}
Faith {inaudible} no.
Male: {rapping}
Female: What do you think {inaudible} you? I liked you better. Cunt.

Faith’s father is convinced that this voicemail proves something was happening to Faith, stating that, “From Day One, I heard my daughter screaming in the background, and I knew something was going on.”  Police believe the voicemail was from the club and not from the apartment where Faith was murdered.

It is worth noting that, though, the names Rosie and Eriq are purported to have been said in the voicemail, it is unclear whether Karena Rosario would go by “Rosie,” and Eriq Takoy Jones seemed to have been called “Takoy” by friends.

Also, some of the transcript does not make sense as a conversation, and the individuals are using uncommon words and phrasing which could indicate, at the very least, misinterpretation.  Comments like, “Her hands look like they’re on fire. {inaudible} I’ve got to hide them,” and “Just throw it in the river,” are extremely bizarre.  And, in the middle of the call, it seems as though someone is rapping or music is being played, lending some credence to the theory that it was recorded at The Thrill.  Logically, it does stand to reason, that even if only parts of the transcript are accurate, the voicemail is hard to discount as unrelated to the murder.

It is also extremely difficult to dismiss that the voicemail does seem to have recorded a potentially angry or emotional discussion as it happened.  The voices seem to many, including Faith’s family, to be agitated, fast-speaking, and belligerent, and there are also audible yelps of (what seems like) pain from someone.

faith-2.jpeg

Who killed Faith?


 

Closing

Considering the massive amounts of evidence and investigation conducted, and in lieu of the redacted information, and law enforcement’s seeming reluctance to share evidence years after the fact, it is reasonable to assume that the police do have an idea of who they believe most likely murdered Faith Hedgepeth.

The police “are still seeking additional information related to the murder” and many wonder if they simply need a critical piece of evidence which contradicts an alibi or provides vital support to a circumstantial theory.

IMG_7384-514x350.jpg

Faith - w baby..531140_4521964699238_815262920_nFaith’s family has worked tirelessly to not allow the case to be forgotten by the public, and to keep Faith’s memory alive.  They’ve set up a scholarship in her name called Faith’s Smile Scholarship which helps Native American women entering their freshman year of college.

Faith is described by family and friends as outgoing and bubbly, and “an honor student, a cheerleader and a member of “every club there was.”  She planned to be a pediatrician or a teacher and was going to be the first college graduate in her family.

Faith’s sister, Rolanda, has pleaded:

“One little piece of information could break the case, could give us some type of peace.” 

If you have any information, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, about the murder of Faith Hedgepeth, please contact Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515 or at http://www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.

15 thoughts on “The Murder of Faith Hedgepeth

  1. J. Richardson says:

    If this was anyone else, they will have it on Dateline, 20/20 and 60 minutes. This is a young Native American woman that had a wonderful life ahead of her from a small town and nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ja says:

    Just don’t see how nothing gets solved, innocent girl gone just cause she was having her a Lil fun. Why take a life no one deserves to get they life token we all was born for a reason most have family, such as sons and daughters and we got live for them. Its sad about what happen but on the real people are getting murdered and nothing is really getting found out. And its been four years!!!!!!! Y’all got be safe out here thatsbto everybody

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maegan says:

    Is there a river near her apartment? I wonder if the comment about throwing it in the river could have been about whatever they were using to cause Faith harm. If they knew about this back then they could have checked the river (assuming there is one) for an object that matched potential markings left behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • truenoir says:

      So, the river comment is really odd, because I don’t think that there was a legitimate river near the apartments or the club or just in the general vicinity. If someone else knows better, please do not hesitate to correct me.

      However, I think that if this comment was interpreted correctly from the voicemail, that the speaker was potentially referring to any body of water- a small creek, or retention pond, or puddle, and just doing so in an exaggerated, ill-educated way…?

      The truly unfortunate thing is that it seems like police already have a ton of evidence relating to her murder, including DNA, from Faith’s apartment, and were still unable to connect it to a suspect.

      Like

  4. PoetryNmySoul4ever says:

    I continue to Pray for them to find & convict whoever did this to your daughter, Roland. May God shed light on this case to the police! Praying for you as well, brother Roland. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Moore Locklear says:

    About the river comment. There’s a huge river right before entering into Chapel Hill on 15/501. This is awful. First little Brittany Locklear in 1998 and now Faith Hedgepeth in 2012. Both are Native American and both deserve justice. I say we march and demand justice for both.

    Like

    • amarie says:

      I agree. The fact the the friend left in the middle of the night and comes back to her dead friend is suspicious. Possibly the police have the timeline wrong and she actually died during or shortly after the voicemail.

      Like

  6. Justice says:

    I am pretty sure that faith was killed or close to dead before she even arrived back home. I believe it was a group involved and I believe that her roommate was amid the group.

    Like

    • truenoir says:

      Interesting to note, that if this scenario were true, then someone else was sending the last text messages from Faith’s phone… Totally possible and maybe even makes sense considering the context.

      Like

  7. Hank Mullaney says:

    There was blood splatter in the room, so I doubt she was killed elsewhere.
    She said that her hands were burning. Did the autopsy indicate redness or anything peculiar about her hands? There must have been other DNA or fingerprints at the crime scene.

    Like

    • Anne says:

      Was Brandon at the nightclub that evening? Karena obviously had designs on him and maybe Faith did too. When he didn’t answer the calls or texts, Karena goes to see him. It could have been something like:

      K: Faith says you had sex with her, and you said I was a #### etc. etc..
      B: She’s a liar. She wants me, and she is just trying to cause trouble between you and me. She came on to me and wanted to have sex with me, but I turned her down, so she is making this up to get back at me.
      K: That ####! She’s supposed to be my friend and she does this? Who does she think she is? Come with me right now and we’ll confront her together.

      So they go back to Faith’s apartment and fight with her. Karena beats her with the bottle and Brandon rapes her. They torture her until she is dead , Karena and Brandon could have left, then the next morning K. goes home and sure enough, Faith is just like they left her – dead. Then she calls 911.

      Like

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