Judge orders search warrants unsealed in UNC student's slaying

Jul. 02, 2014 @ 06:16 PM

A Superior Court judge Wednesday ordered search warrants and other records in the 2012 homicide of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth unsealed.

And in an interview, interim District Attorney Leon Stanback said he talked to the State Bureau of Investigation about the slaying last week and expects new information “to come through the pipeline on that case.”

Prosecutors and police kept the documents sealed for 22 months, saying their release could hurt the investigation.

In Wednesday’s ruling, Judge Howard Manning said some information needed to be redacted to protect the investigation. He said Hedgepeth’s autopsy report will remain sealed.

Search warrants show that police seized bedding, a remote control, undergarments, a tank top, pens, sandals and a flat iron from the victim’s apartment in 2012. Several other items were blacked out on the warrants.

Police searched a Jeep, a 1997 Honda Accord and Hedgepeth’s Facebook account. Evidence from Facebook has been redacted.

Hedgepeth, 19, was found dead in her bedroom at an off-campus apartment in Chapel Hill on Sept. 7, 2012.

No arrest has been made.

Stanback declined Wednesday to say why his office wanted the records sealed for so long, but said he wasn’t surprised by the judge’s ruling.

“The case is still open,” Stanback said. “We haven’t arrested anybody, and we don’t want to let folks know how we’re thinking. I just want an arrest to be made. That’s the frustrating thing for me.”

But Stanback said he continues to hope “this one will be solved.”

Friends found Hedgepeth dead at the Hawthorne at the View apartments.

Chapel Hill police have said they don’t think the killing was a random act, but they’ve declined to say how she died or if they have suspects.

A reward of up to $39,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Chapel Hill Police Department tip line at 919-614-6363 or CrimeStoppers at 919-942-7515 or email tips to detectives at crimetips@townofchapelhill.org.