Three-Day Journey By Formerly-Missing Senior Still Unknown

Little new information has come to light as to how a missing Carol Woods Retirement Community resident went missing for nearly three days.

Chapel Hill Police Public Information Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the area that 90-year-old Richard Leslie Silva was found was part of the area initially searched by authorities.

“I think based on his medical state he didn’t have a whole lot of memory of much—especially not short-term,” Lt. Mecimore says. “He wasn’t able to provide any information related to where he’d been, how he got there, or anything like that.”

STORY: UPDATE: Missing Person Silva Located

He says a lady was walking her dog and the dog began acting strange, so she got a security guard who helped find Silva.

Lt. Mecimore says police, along with Carol Woods employees, first searched the property. When that search came up empty, officers searched the area surrounding the property, including the I-40 corridor all the way up to Chapel Hill North.

He says it’s difficult to determine if he was in the place he was found the entire time or if that’s where he ended up. He says it’s hard to believe he ever made it too far due to limited mobility.

“Somebody thought they had seen him on Saturday at about 1:00 p.m. on Weaver Dairy Extention,” Lt. Mecimore says. “They described in great detail some things that make us believe there might be some credibility to that because it was information that we didn’t release in our release. So, we’re trying to look into those and figure out where he might have gone if anywhere after he disappeared.”

According to UNC Healthcare spokesperson Tom Hughes, Silva was no longer in the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon.

Persons Of Interest Listed In Hedgepeth Murder Investigation Documents

Search warrants unsealed by the Durham County District Attorney’s office Friday morning reveal multiple people of interest in the murder investigation of Faith Hedgepeth nearly two years ago. Chapel Hill Police have yet to say if any have been ruled out as suspects.

The most notable connection with the victim is Eriq Takoy Jones, who lived in the same apartment complex as Hedgepeth, a few buildings away from where she was found murdered. Jones apparently had a previous relationship with Hedgepeth’s roommate, Karena Lynn Rosario.

According to a warrant, Jones told Rosario earlier that summer that he hated Hedgepeth and would kill her if Rosario didn’t get back together with him. Police were told that Jones resented Hedgepeth because he considered her a barrier to his relationship with Rosario.

Police say Rosario placed a restraining order against Jones two months before Hedgepeth was murdered, after he allegedly kicked two doors off their frame in Rosario’s apartment.

Jones gave investigators permission to search his cell phone. They found a text message Jones sent to a friend the day before the murder asking the friend to forgive him for what he was about to do. Jones also sent a tweet to someone else asking for forgiveness. Police said the cover photo on Jones’ Facebook page was changed to include, “Dear Lord. Forgive me for all of my sins and the sins I may commit today. Protect me from the girls who don’t deserve me and the ones who wish me dead today.”

Jacob Beatley of 103 West Longview Street in Chapel Hill was also questioned six months after the murder took place. A warrant shows that a cell tower search conducted early in the investigation connected an incident report to Beatley’s phone number.

Investigators said when they contacted Beatley they found that he lived with the person who Rosario was with during the time of the murder. Police said he also went to the nightclub The Thrill that night, but couldn’t recall when he left. The warrants say Beatley was asked to submit a DNA sample, but he did not do so voluntarily.

Another person of interest included Reginald Leonard Jackson, II who was living in Greensboro in November 2012 when investigators attempted to contact him.

A Chapel Hill Police officer said he attempted to get in touch with him by phone multiple times before traveling to his last known address in Greensboro. The CHPD officer said he caught up with Jackson with the assistance of local police. He said Jackson was in his car and pulling out of the parking lot of his apartment complex. The warrant says Jackson told the officers he “knew of (Hedgepeth)” but that he doesn’t talk to police like that.

In Thursday’s release, Police Chief Chris Blue said investigators collected hundreds of DNA samples, but did not name any suspects. Chapel Hill Police did report that at least one person refused to have a DNA sample submitted.

Investigators continue to ask that if you have any information regarding the case to call 919-614-6363. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

CHPD Arrests Four For DWI Wednesday Morning

Chapel Hill Police made your roads safer early Wednesday morning making four arrests for DWIs within a three-and-a-half mile stretch of Franklin Street.

“The first one occurred at just 23 minutes after midnight going all the way up to 4:30 (Wednesday) morning,” says Public Information Sergeant Bryan Walker. “Various locations around town: Europa Drive to West Franklin Street to East Franklin Street. They were all just the result of officers on routine patrol.”

The four drivers were 19-year-old Connor Craig Bruce, 21-year-old Yasmine Jordan Carlson, 26-year-old Jason Robert Lomboy, and 32-year-old Adam Wade Phillips.

Sgt. Walker says all but one incident were the result of erratic driving that caught the attention of the office. The other arrest was made after a routine traffic stop, and the officer noticed alcohol on the driver’s breath. All four arrests were made by different officers.

Four arrests for DWI in about a four-hour span is an abnormality in Chapel Hill. While the officers were not performing a DWI checkpoint, Sgt. Walker says CHPD will set them up on a regular basis, especially around high drinking-and-driving times like after a sporting event or major holiday.

“Typically we won’t give out information on DWI checkpoints and that kind of thing, certainly (not in advance),” Sgt. Walker says.

However, Chapel Hill Police has been busy on social media in recent days with notifications of where radar checkpoints are going to be on a given day. Last Wednesday, Chapel Hill Police tweeted it would be setting one up on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd the next day between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.

“We try to get information out there to folks, because it’s helping us meet our goal,” Sgt. Walker says. “If someone sees that and says, ‘well, I need to remember to slow down when I’m driving through there,’ then we’ve accomplished that goal.”

“Yes, occasionally we poke fun at folks that should have been following us on Twitter,” Sgt. Walker says. “And, maybe if they had been they wouldn’t have gotten at ticket.”

Follow Chapel Hill Police on Twitter, @ChapelHillPD. You can follow WCHL on Twitter, @WCHL, and we’ll be sharing any traffic checkpoints we see with you as well.

Found: CHPD Seeking Missing Person, Ai Jinglong

Story originally posted April 12, 2014, 7:31 a.m.

The Chapel Hill Police Department reported just after 4:00 p.m. Saturday that Ai Jinglong was located safe and sound.

The Chapel Hill Police Department needs your help finding 85-year-old Ai Jinglong who was last seen Friday on Willow Drive.

Jinglong is a 5’6″, 155 pound Asian male; he has black hair and brown eyes.

If you have information concerning Jinglong’s whereabouts, please call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-612-8240 or 911 immediately.

CHPD Seeks CHPL Larceny Suspect

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Police Department needs your help finding the suspect of a larceny from a person last week at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

The suspect took a person’s purse into the men’s bathroom, removed cash, and threw the purse away before fleeing the building.

Authorities are looking for a black male with short hair and a slim build. At the time he was wearing a dark hooded jacket, dark pants, and light running shoes.

chpl larceny

If you can assist Chapel Hill Police in finding this person, please call Investigator Bolden at 919-968-2870 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous. Information leading to an arrest could receive a cash reward up to $2,000.

Franklin Street From Estes Dr to Elliott Rd Closed – Natural Gas Leak

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Police Sgt. Bryan Walker confirmed Wednesday at 10:35 a.m. that Franklin Street was closed in both directions between Estes Dr and Elliott Rd for a natural gas leak.

Sgt. Walker said he was unaware of any evacuations in the area. EMS and gas crews were on the scene managing the incident.

CHPD Seeks Additional Help From SBI In Hedgepeth Investigation

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Police Department has asked the State Bureau of Investigation for additional help in the murder of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth.

The Chapel Hill News reports that SBI spokeswoman Jennifer Canada confirmed in an email that Police Chief Chris Blue requested the help from the SBI in the off-campus murder. The SBI served a limited role in the early parts of the investigation, including the discovery of a male suspect’s DNA and a profile of that person.

Hedgepeth was found dead in her apartment on September 7 of last year at the Hawthorne on the View complex on Old Chapel Hill Road.

The investigative documents and 911 calls have been sealed by court order since the murder. On September 30, Durham County Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson signed a 60-day order to reseal the documents for the fifth time.

Gunshots Fired Saturday; CHPD Seeking Info

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Police are seeking information in a shooting incident that took place on Walnut Street last Saturday evening.

Sometime between 5:00 and 7:26 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, an individual fired a single bullet into a residence on Walnut Street. Nobody was in the residence at the time, though, and there were no injuries.

If you have any information about the incident, please contact the Chapel Hill PD at 919-968-2760, or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous, and callers may receive a reward up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest.

You can also leave tips for Crime Stoppers at

Social Media Uses In Local Gov’t Vary

CHAPEL HILL – As technology becomes increasingly important in today’s society, several branches of the local government are turning more to social media to communicate with the public—but some officials are still cautious about making the shift.

For the Chapel Hill Police Department, Sgt. Josh Mecimore says officers are primarily focused on using Twitter instead of Facebook for up-to-the-second news.

“In the past, we’ve kind of put out the same content on both services,” he says. “Moving forward, I think you’ll see more of the current events and up-to-the-minute kinds of things on Twitter, and then we’ll use Facebook for more of the information about ongoing investigations, trying to elicit information from the public, and more detailed information about things we’re doing around town.”

Mecimore says the CHPD’s Twitter page seen particular success when it comes to traffic enforcement announcements.

“When we put out that our traffic enforcement is out doing doing speed enforcement or stop sign violations in a particular part of town, that’s one of the things that gets re-tweeted the most by people,” he says. “That seems like it’s of great interest of people, and they want to send it out to their followers so that they know we’re doing speed enforcement somewhere and we’re not trying to hide it.”

But unlike Chapel Hill, the town of Carrboro hasn’t set up social media sites for law enforcement.

“The town has a Facebook and Twitter account, but there’s not a separate one for the police department at this time,” says Lt. Chris Atack of the Carrboro Police Department. “So, if there’s any sort of information that needs to go out about upcoming events or other public safety issues, we usually use those two outlets.’

Still, Atack says the idea isn’t off the table for some point in the future.

“It’s been an avenue we’ve been looking at for a period of time because there are obviously departments in the area that have Facebook presence specifically, and there’s certainly usefulness in that application,” he says. “So that’s something we’re exploring.”

For the Town of Hillsborough, Facebook has been a useful tool in the apprehension of suspects. According to the town’s website, in March 2012, officers started using Facebook to request tips from the public—since that time, 14 posts have resulted in suspect identifications or arrests. Facebook tips have also led officers to recover numerous stolen items.

Meanwhile, in the educational branch of local government, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board member James Barrett says while social media can be valuable, it’s not without its risks.

“I think the biggest risk is that it’s very easy to say something that could be taken out of context,” he says. “As is the case with really all electronic communication, there’s no tone, so people lose that perspective on what’s being said.”

The Chapel-Hill Carrboro City School district does have both a Twitter and a Facebook page, but Barrett says right now, the board’s members are leaving most social media projects to district Executive Director of Community Relations Jeff Nash.

“I think Mr. Nash is certainly cognizant of trying to communicate with people more, and so I think he’s looking for ways to do that, but I don’t think it’s been a serious push of the board.”

But Barrett, who recently wrote a blog post on the growing role of social media in local governments, says he acknowledges the importance of social media for the district, especially for sharing images.

“I think particularly our Facebook presence allows us to share photos,” he says. “It’s been great for people to see pictures of things like Northside Elementary going up, for example. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

Police Dogs Play Key Role In Drug and Bomb Detection

CHAPEL HILL – Local law enforcement keep the community safe but they don’t do it alone. Working alongside the officers are the dogs of the K-9 Units. They hunt-down suspects, search out drugs and detect bombs.

“It’s vital to the safety of all of our officers,” said Sergeant Gabe Shinn of the CHPD.

“It’s crucial that we have the dogs to find somebody hiding somewhere, particularly if they want to do us harm. Dogs can sniff out suspects hiding in a wooded-setting, in buildings, or anywhere really. The dogs have the ability to detect that odor long before we see that person—because we may not see them,” he said.

Shinn says the CHPD has three drug-detecting and pursuit trained dogs with a keen sense of smell that’s more significant than their ferocious bites. They are not trained in bomb detection.


Environmental conditions can throw the dogs’ scent-tracking skills. It’s easier for them to pick-up a trail in colder conditions. When it’s hot, Shinn says it’s crucial for the dogs to get to a crime scene as soon as possible because odors will dissipate quickly.

“We want to use the dogs anytime we can. It’s an unpredictable job. We don’t know what we maybe walking in to. We don’t know what may be waiting around the corner,” Shinn said.  “It’s better for us to know it before hand than to find out when we are right on top of it.”

The dogs can also move fast. Shinn says in a foot-chase situation, he has never seen a suspect out-run a police dog.

The CHPD’s three dogs are named MJ, Jax, and Kernie; MJ lives with Shinn, and the other dogs live with officers as well. Shinn explains this encourages strong relationships between the dogs and their handlers.

CHPD has the budget for a total of four dogs. With MJ is retiring soon, Shinn says they’ll bring-in two more dogs sometime this year.

But police dogs are expensive, costing upwards of $10,000. However, the CHPD’s dogs were bought from private donations.

Shinn says police dogs are usually brought over from Europe, the breeds being German and Dutch Shepherd, and Belgians Malinois.

The dogs complete 14 weeks of training before going out in the field. They additionally train every week to keep their skills refined.

Bomb Detection

The UNC Department of Public Safety’s K-9 unit is made-up of Buddy, who’s been with them since August of 2007.

Buddy specializes in bomb-detection.

Randy Young of UNC DPS explains their K-9 Unit began in 2004. Young says like other police dogs, Buddy is great with people but is all business during high-profile community events like football games.

“He’s also extremely professional when he needs to be and is viewed as just like any of our other officers here,” Young said.

Buddy is trained in the identification of 25-30 different chemicals essential in most explosive devices. UNC DPS lends him out to other jurisdictions for big events.

His handler, Officer Jeff Mosher, trains Buddy twice a month.