Murder Investigation Documents Still Sealed?

By Ran Northam Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:20 am

The investigative documents into the murder of UNC sophomore Faith Hedgepeth remain sealed, pending a ruling on a motion filed by the local media to unseal the documents.

It’s been more than 20 months since the crime took place, and on March 3, The Daily Tar Heel, Capital Broadcasting Company, Inc. and the News and Observer Publishing Company filed the motion to halt the sealing orders.

Durham County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning is reviewing the motion. While he does, the documents remained sealed despite the last 60-day order’s expiration on May 18.

WCHL left multiple messages with Durham’s Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks and District Attorney Leon Stanbeck in the last three weeks to inquire the latest about the case, but they didn’t return the calls.

The 19-year-old was found dead by her friends in her off-campus apartment on September 7, 2012. Authorities have said they don’t believe the crime was a random act, though they haven’t disclosed how she was killed or information about a possible suspect or suspects.

Stanback first asked the court to seal the documents three days after Hedgepath’s death, to keep from “compromising the investigation.”

According to the state’s motion to keep the documents sealed, there were search warrants for a 1977 Honda Accord, a unit in Hedgepeth’s apartment complex, and her own apartment, WNCN reported. Investigators also searched a laptop and a Facebook account.

Stanback told WCHL News in September of 2013 that he would seek to keep the documents sealed for as long as the courts allow.

The Durham District Attorney’s Office will prosecute a suspect, should any arrests be made, though the Chapel Hill Police Department is the investigating agency.

On January 8 of this year, the CHPD released details of the investigation, including DNA of a male suspect found at the scene.

Chapel Hill Police continue to express that this is not a cold case and that it is continuing to follow leads.

Authorities continue to seek any information that could help in the investigation. Anyone with information should call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

A reward up to $39,000 is available to anyone with information that can help solve the case.

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