NC police charge 28-year-old man in 2012 murder of Faith Hedgepeth

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A 28-year-old North Carolina man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Faith Hedgepeth, a University of North Carolina sophomore who was found beaten to death in 2012, authorities said Thursday.

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Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares, of Durham, is being held in the Durham County jail without bail, according to a news release from the town of Chapel Hill.

Chris Blue, Chapel Hill’s chief of police and executive director for community safety, and Celisa Lehew, assistant chief of police, announced the arrest during a news conference Thursday, WTVD reported.

No details were released about the arrest, Salguero-Olivares, or what relationship he had, if any, to Hedgepeth, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

“Patience will be asked of you,” Blue told reporters. “This story will take time to completely unfold.”

Hedgepeth, 19, of Hollister, was last seen alive at around 4 a.m. EDT on Sept. 7, 2012, when her roommate, Karena Rosario, left their apartment in Chapel Hill, WRAL reported. Rosario discovered her roommate’s body when she returned, WSOC-TV reported.

An autopsy showed Hedgepeth was beaten to death and sustained severe head injuries, according to WRAL. Hedgepeth also had cuts to her face and head, and was badly beaten on her arms and legs, according to WSOC.

“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 our agency partners who feel the same way,” said Lehew, who has led this investigation for six years. “While Faith’s family has been waiting for this day for nine years and nine days, I am sure it is going to renew painful emotions. Our thoughts are with all of Faith’s family and friends, and we will continue to support you in this difficult time.”

During Thursday’s news conference, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said an arrest was made possible after the State Bureau of Investigation and the Chapel Hill Police Department submitted a DNA sample to the State Crime Lab that matched the DNA profile found at the original crime scene.

“We had more than a dozen analysts work on this case at some point over the last nine years,” Stein told reporters.

Hedgepeth’s mother, Connie Hedgepeth, said she was thankful when she heard about the arrest, The News & Observer reported.

“When I got the news this morning, I didn’t do anything but cry, and thank God,” Connie Hedgepeth said at the news conference. “When I cried, it was tears of joy, tears of relief, knowing that someone had been arrested in her case.”

“It’s been a long nine years,” the victim’s father, Roland Hedgepeth, told reporters.

Police conducted thousands of interviews, including with Rosario and some men who were potential suspects, The News & Observer reported. They also compiled evidence from the murder weapon -- a Bacardi Peach Rum bottle -- to semen and DNA, which was used to create a composite of the killer, according to the newspaper.

“This investigation is not complete. Our work is not done,” Lehew told reporters. “We will continue to work this case until every lead is extinguished, and any parties that have a role in or knowledge of this tragedy are brought to justice.”