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faith hedgepeth mainFaith Hedgepeth.
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police chief chris blue headshotPolice Chief Chris Blue.
Faith Hedgepeth should be studying for finals. Instead, Tuesday will mark eight months since she was murdered in her off-campus apartment.
Think of what has happened in that time. A chancellor resigned, and we’ve welcomed a chancellor-elect. Babies born just after Labor Day are now crawling. And yet her killer walks free, even though DNA from a male suspect was discovered at the scene. We interviewed Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, via email, for an update. He left some of our questions unanswered, declining to reveal a cause of death, among other things, citing the importance of protecting the investigation, which he says is being worked every day.
What can you tell us about the investigation?
Faith’s case is the top priority of our investigations division. We have consistently collaborated with other agencies, both state and federal, when investigative leads necessitated that we do so. There are no changes to any of the information we’ve released to this point. … This is not a cold case, and investigators are continuing to work this case daily.
Since the perpetrator is on the loose, can you reassure the public that we are safe?
The best way to answer that is to remember that we must always be vigilant and aware of our surroundings. ... Recent national events remind us of that fact, too. I receive regular briefings on the investigation and, each time I do, I am convinced that we are proceeding in the appropriate manner. We are fortunate that we have a very low violent crime rate in our community and, on the rare occasion that we do experience a homicide, we have usually been able to close those cases quickly. That has been due largely to a combination of good luck and good police work. The time that this investigation is taking is because the circumstances of the case require it. I am completely confident in our investigators.
You and your department have been pretty silent about this investigation. Why it is important for you to be discreet?
Each case is different, and the circumstances of the case dictate what kinds of information we will release and when we will do so.
There were only two homicides here in 2012. How does our idyllic environment make your job easier and harder at the same time?
I think tragedies hit us harder because they are so infrequent in our community. So the attention that those cases generate can make investigations difficult at times. You mentioned that we have an “idyllic environment,” and I agree. That is what makes this such a great place to live. But we have had our share of tragedies over the years, so we are certainly not immune from bad things happening. We encourage everyone to take an active part in keeping our community safe by reporting suspicious things to us, by making it a point to look out for your neighbors, and never taking your safety for granted. TW
ANYONE WITH INFORMATION REGARDING THE HEDGEPETH CASE IS URGED TO CALL CRIMESTOPPERS AT (919) 942-7515.