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FAITH HEDGEPETH

The Chapel Hill Police Department last week arrested Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares, 28, of Durham in the murder case of Warren County native Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, charging him with first-degree murder.

During a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 16, the Chapel Hill Police Department said that after analyzing almost 230 DNA samples, DNA from Salguero-Olivares matched DNA from the crime scene nine years ago.

The daughter of Roland and Connie Hedgepeth of Hollister, Faith Hedgepeth was an active member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe and a 2010 graduate of Warren County High School.

Hedgepeth was a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the time she was found dead in her Chapel Hill apartment in September 2012.

Since that time, the Chapel Hill Police Department has investigated the case as a homicide. In 2013, the department reported that evidence collected at the scene revealed DNA of a male suspect. Hundreds of pages of court documents related to the case were released the following year.

“Nine years and nine days ago, tragedy struck our community,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said during the Sept. 16 press conference.

Throughout that time, Hedgepeth’s family remained optimistic that an arrest or arrests would be made, especially with advancements in DNA technology.

A number of Hedgepeth’s family members attended the Sept. 16 press conference. Her parents indicated that they received a call that morning that an arrest had been made.

“I didn’t do anything but cry and praise God,” Connie Hedgepeth said. “I put (everything) in His hands. I cried tears of joy and relief that someone has been arrested. I ask everyone to continue to keep us in your prayers.”

Connie and her husband, Roland, thanked everyone who has been involved in the investigation.

“It has been a long nine years,” Roland Hedgepeth said. “I thank God for this day, to be alive to see this day.”

He also expressed appreciation for the support provided by friends and family.

Officials speaking during last week’s press conference described Faith as a bright young woman with a promising future whose life was tragically cut short. 

In addition to the Chapel Hill Police Department, a number of other agencies have been involved in the investigation, including the State Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Crime Lab.

“Our agency has been committed to bringing justice to Faith and her family since the day of her murder,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said. “I am proud of all the people — inside our department and in the many partner agencies that assisted us — whose hard work made this result possible.”

Chapel Hill Assistant Chief of Police Celisa Lehew has led the investigation for six years.

“There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t thought about Faith or how to get this case to the conclusion she and her family deserve; there are many people within our department and agency partners who feel the same way,” she said.

Salguero-Olivares was confined in the Durham County Detention Facility without bond.

The partner law enforcement agencies will continue to investigate the case and could make additional arrests.