We were unable to determine by deadline last night if the new reward for an arrest in the Faith Hedgepeth killing reflects additional public or private money. The UNC-CH Board of Trustees announced Wednesday that it is offering $25,000 through Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest in the student's death.
Trustee Sallie Shuping-Russell confirms the new reward money reflects private dollars from the Board of Trustees. "It is our money," she said in an overnight phone message. "Basically we're doing it because we think it's important that this crime be solved and we want to do everything we can to help."
The Chapel Hill Police Department has released no new information in the case, and the 911 call and search warrants have been sealed while the case remains under investigation. Police ask anyone with information to call the department’s tip line at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919 942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.
In 2008, the Board of Trustees offered a similar $25,000 reward for tips leading to the arrests of Student Body President Eve Carson's killers. The governor's office later offered $10,000 more for information leading to the arrest of anyone who may have harbored or otherwise supported Demario James Atwater or Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. after Carson's March 5 murder.
Last year the lead investigator on the Carson homicide case revealed that a Durham woman received the $25,000 Crime Stoppers reward for pointing investigators toward Lovette as a suspect. Justina Staten-Williams contacted Crime Stoppers five days after Carson was found dead.
The new reward in the Hedegepeth case now totals $29,000. The Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, of which Hedgepeth was a member, and Hawthorne at the View Apartments, where she lived, have also pledged $1,000 each to the Crime Stoppers reward fund. Members of the tribe had expressed concern about the size of the initial $2,000 reward for information offered by police. They wondered in gatherings why it was not higher.
Cynthia Silver, wife of the pastor at Hedgepeth's church, was one of many who questioned it. "Evil people will turn on evil people when money is involved," she said. "It should be higher."
Additional reporting by staff writers Anne Blythe and J. Andrew Curliss contributed to this post.