Almost a decade after UNC student Faith Hedgepeth was found slaughtered in her off-campus apartment, police have arrested her alleged murderer.
In a press conference on Thursday, the Chapel Hill Police Department announced that Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares (above) was in police custody. The 28-year-old Durham, NC, native was arrested on Tuesday and is charged with first-degree murder.
During the presser, Chris Blue, Chief of Police and Executive Director for Community Safety said the department kept their promise to Faith’s family and the community to make an arrest, sharing:
“Nine years and nine days ago tragedy struck our community. Police officers responded to a heartbreaking scene. One where a promising young life had ended way too soon.”
On September 7, 2012, the 19-year-old was found dead in her off-campus apartment by her roommate, Karena Rosario. In a 911 call, Rosario told an operator there was “blood everywhere.”
Autopsy results determined Hedgepeth had been brutally beaten and raped. In the bed next to her body was a handwritten note scrawled on a bag from a fast-food restaurant, which investigators said they believed was written by her killer.
Authorities wouldn’t comment on whether Miguel would also be charged with a sex crime, what the nature of Salguero-Olivares’ relationship to Faith was, or even if there was one. However, they did say that Salguero-Olivares was not considered a suspect from the very beginning of the case. Blue elaborated:
“Our agency has been committed to bringing justice to Faith and her family since the day of her murder. I am proud of all the people – inside our department and in the many partner agencies that assisted us – whose hard work made this result possible. While today’s arrest will not bring Faith back, we are not yet done getting answers for Faith’s family. Today’s announcement marks the next phase of this investigation and we will, again, commit to preserving the integrity of this case with everything we’ve got.”
While investigators collected a significant amount of DNA at the scene of the crime, they struggled to come up with a match to the hundreds of men they also collected samples from.
After spending nine years ruling out suspects, conducting thousands of interviews, and working on 53 submissions of evidence, however, police detectives were able to find a match. Attorney General Josh Stein said:
“Yesterday, with a sample provided by law enforcement of the suspect, the state crime lab generated a match to a DNA profile derived from the original crime scene. As a result, an arrest nearly a decade in the making has been made.”
In addition to a DNA match, the department said the suspect’s facial features also match a composite sketch that was released back in 2016. Miguel is being held on no bond.
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