19-year-old University of North Carolina student Faith Hedgepeth was brutally murdered on the morning of Sept. 7, 2012, in an off-campus apt. To this day, despite LOTS of evidence and suspicions, the case remains unsolved. It is my hope that a collaborative Web effort ("hivemind") may accomplish what law enforcement has been unable to do in two long years… solve this vicious, senseless crime. In recent years Web collaboration of 100s, has been the tool allowing many decades-old problems in science to be solved in a matter of months; it can work for solving crimes as well. On behalf of Faith, her friends, and loved ones... let's DO IT!

Here are links to several of the podcasts/sites that have covered the case in recent years (and of course you can google for many more news reports) -- I would caution though that virtually all podcasts and extended treatments of this case (including this blog!) have some facts wrong, and are highly speculative:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np8a4FoGE20 [20/20 broadcast]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz8mBob9aPs ["Trace Evidence"]




https://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/breaking-homicide/full-episodes/who-killed-faith (2018 episode)

ALSO, because of the heavy suspicion usually directed toward Karena Rosario, I'll leave a permanent link to this longish "Defense" of Karena that has been offered by a reader:


==> [Finally, I have moved the long introductory material to the bottom so newest posts will now appear closer to the top (but you can click as needed if you want to review, or read for the first time, the basics about this crime).]

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Public Remains In Dark

 Sorry, nothing really new to report, except that there seem to be a LOT of questions still swirling around this frustrating case, despite the September arrest of a suspect… who, despite having a preliminary hearing, had his October arraignment or probable cause hearing postponed (and nobody publicly seems to know why or for how long, though it’s known that the crime investigation is ongoing).

My own guess, but I don’t know anymore than the next person, is that there will be a second person (perhaps more, though I suspect not) charged in this case, though no idea how long that will take, nor even if the second person can be found, nor if a second arrest will affect the charges against suspect Olivares??? Lots of uncertainty still.

I thought it slightly unseemly when town officials fell all over themselves with self-congratulations when an arrest was announced in this case after 9 exasperating, fraught years... that unseemliness, for now, still lingers. :((

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Twiddling Our Thumbs...

 Nothing really to report... we are all left twiddling our thumbs, left in the dark as to whatever is currently transpiring. The suspect's second court hearing (arraignment) was scheduled for October 7 but never occurred. Routine delay/postponement? who knows... re-scheduled? who knows.  Perhaps there is a simple explanation, but it sure has a fishy feel to it, especially since the press, which has covered this case closely, has said nothing about why the hearing never took place nor when it will??? Silence from LE could be normal, silence from the press, not so much...

Perhaps new arrests are in the offing; perhaps the case is falling apart; perhaps something legally has been bungled, or maybe there is plea bargaining going on; perhaps (hopefully) we'll know more before the end of the year. For now, this 9-year-old case (fiasco?) drags on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Moving Onward...

 I suspect there may not be a lot more news forthcoming on this case unless/until there is another arrest made (which I do expect) or the trial begins (a looong way off), except for the possibility of leaks to the press. [of course, read through the previous post if you have not done so already]

Here are two further news links for the time being, the first on forensic genealogy (undoubtedly utilized in this case), and the second on the current suspect Olivares:



Still, so very many questions outstanding, and I'll continue to add links/comments here as I see fit (as done in previous post), until something warrants a separate new posting.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

…and 9 Days Later

 9 years and 9 days after the original crime, Chapel Hill police today announced the arrest of a suspect who’s name has been reported slightly differently by different sources, but I’ll give as 28-year-old “Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares;” somewhat incredibly, arrested right in Durham, living with his mother, though there was indication that police are still researching his whereabouts/movements for the last 9 years. He would’ve been 19 at the time of the crime, the same age as Faith.

LE held a “press conference,” which, not to take away from the joy and success of the moment, was more self-congratulatory back-slapping than actual informative news of the case, but from all indications the suspect only came on police radar very recently and was arrested almost entirely based, as many of us had long predicted, on DNA evidence that matched the crime scene. It’s as if 8+ years of wild goose chases finally ended when the needed DNA was finally stumbled upon; but again I don’t want to detract from the relief and joy of the moment, with so many of us feeling as if a weight has been lifted off our shoulders (I just don’t feel this 9+ year saga qualifies as a “success” story, unfortunately -- and once enough details are released we will need to try to comprehend why it took this long).

LE, understandably, continues to be tight-lipped about further specifics of the case, though hopefully they will be able to build more evidence than solely the DNA match. Personally, I suspect there will be a 2nd arrest at some point, as I’ve long believed that there were 2 perps (likely either familially-related or work colleagues) who Faith encountered at the Thrill that night (whom she didn’t know or knew only tangentially) — but sheer repeated speculation on my part. Police are to have a news release at some point which I will then link to, as well as any news coverage I think particularly informative. A couple of comments today from LE:

This story will take time to completely unfold.

This investigation is not complete. Our work is not done.

With all this said, and much hope generated, one must add that suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. When under great pressure to resolve a crime there are countless historical examples of police mistakes in their pursuit of a suspect. But DNA, properly analyzed, doesn’t lie. With that said, I can still imagine a lengthy and complicated trial going forward, depending what other evidence LE has to bring to the table, or what the defendant has to say. But at least for now this case has at long-last entered a new phase. Stay tuned.

Here's some of the initial news coverage:


[I'll add further noteworthy press links below as they become available]


One additional bit worth noting that I didn’t mention above is that suspect Oliveras (sp?) was not part of any of the released documents nor speculation for this case, even after 9 years. Suddenly his name just appears out-of-nowhere. Of the few cases I’ve ever worked on that go unsolved for well over a year the eventual arrestee has always been someone no one has heard of or had on their radar. People need to be aware of how little and limited info they are usually getting from police and press reports. The speed with which so many in this case cast aspersions at Karena (based on very thin, specious arguments), because she was a convenient target, was yet another example of how easy it is to jump to conclusions.



I’ll add short addendums here as needed until I deem some piece of news worthy of a new, separate post.

The suspect made his first court appearance today and was charged with first degree (felony) murder, with no bail set.

No real new information has come forth… I haven’t even seen what, if any, news release the police ever gave to the press.

I do wonder if, after the ‘hoopla’ surrounding yesterday’s announcement, the suspect can even get a “fair” trial anywhere in Durham or Orange counties, or will have to seek a new venue?

We seem to have moved from one long period of LE silence to a new phase of LE silence with the single change being that someone is now accused. The investigation continues and police have not ruled out further arrests... and many, many questions remain. No idea when a trial would begin, but if not plea-bargained, it will almost surely be a long one.



A new press article today with more info about the arrested suspect:


In an odd ‘coincidence’ some have noted that Olivares is originally from Guatemala and the perp (yet another 19-yr-old) in another rape in Carrboro (near Chapel Hill) earlier th very same day was also of Guatemalan origin (police have always maintained the two crimes were not connected… but definitely a head-scratcher, violent rapes beings somewhat rare for the area):


For now I'm still awaiting more details, that may not be forthcoming :( before feeling comfortable with the latest turn of events or the work CHPD has done. To get a first-degree murder conviction they will need more than a DNA match. Do they have it?



Unfortunately, still not seeing any real significant news or disclosures that add much to what was released on the first day announcement. One small mystery from that day does continue:  in thanking individuals for their hard work on the case LE cited an officer working in Montgomery County, Maryland for his assistance with the DNA research.... I would've thought the principal DNA work would've been done by the NC SBI or similar State agency; not sure why Montgomery County, Md. would be brought in. It may mean absolutely nothing, just a sharing of available resources, or at some point maybe analysis done in Maryland will take on further significance...?

...OK, with some further investigation it turns out that for the last several years the Maryland officer in question has specialized in forensic genealogy of the sort Parabon is known for (examining ancestral/familial DNA linkages, so quite like he was able to provide LE with the suspect's name from genealogy study, and LE then went out by one means or another and collected a DNA sample from the individual which then matched the crime scene. [I've said for a long time that DNA genealogy would/could solve this crime, and am now guessing it got us to this point.]


9/20/21:  will start a new post tomorrow just to begin moving things along

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9 Frikkin' Years....

9 years... unbelievably, 9 years have passed and no resolution to this case... no hint of one; no sense of any major progress, let alone solution, to this case in the offing... other than CHPD's continual claim that it is not a cold case and that they are working "tirelessly" on it... perhaps their definition of "tirelessly" and the public's definition differ??? Meanwhile, individuals connected to the case or connected to Faith die off, move away, drop contact, with no satisfactory outcome in the works. So sad (...not that there aren't many similar cases all over this nation).

In any event, long-time follower of the case "CADwrest," who earlier wrote a piece here somewhat 'in defense' of Karena Rosario has now sent along to me 2 more essays: one on the infamous gibberish-like POCKETDIAL that haunts this case, and one on Karena's 911 CALL upon finding Faith... two pieces of evidence that many place a LOT of weight on in reaching their conclusions, but which CADwrest is more critical of. I present them below without comment, other than to say I agree with much of what he says:



In February 2016, Crime Watch Daily (CWD) covered the Faith Hedgepeth murder. The program featured, for the first time, a voicemail left with Hedgepeth’s friend, Euna Chavis, from the night she was killed. Chavis originally deleted the voicemail but asked her service provider to restore it after hearing of Hedgepeth’s murder. She then turned it over to the Chapel Hill Police Department. The raw audio from the voicemail is incomprehensible to the average listener, so CWD hired a forensic audio expert, Arlo West, to examine the audio and see if anything could be decerned from it.

After examination, West presented a cleaned-up audio along with a transcript to CWD. In the transcript, West purported to hear a violent and vulgar exchange between Hedgepeth, one female, and at least two males, with Hedgepeth screaming for help and crying out in pain, and the other individuals discussing raping and killing her. He also stated that he heard the names “Rosie” and “Erik” in the audio, which many take to refer to Eriq Takoy Jones and Karena Rosario, individuals well known to the investigation. Importantly, during the original program, West made the claim that, if not 100% sure of particular wording, he would not add it to the transcript. He also added that he strongly believed the audio had captured Faith’s murder, or at least the moments directly preceding it. With these assurances, CWD presented the audio and transcript to the Hedgepeth family, who accepted it at face value. West has subsequently appeared on many different programs discussing the audio and reiterating his original claims.

As the years have passed, numerous problems have surfaced with this interpretation of the voicemail audio.

Most glaringly, during the original airing, it was revealed that the call had been received at 1:23 AM, at which time Hedgepeth was at The Thrill nightclub, hours before she could have possibly been killed (she is seen on video leaving at 2:06 AM, seemingly relaxed.) While the source of the timestamp was not described, it could only have come from Chavis’ phone, as police have had Hedgepeth’s phone since the day of the murder. On the program, once this issue is revealed, West is shown a final time, theorizing that the time stamp was off, citing a “known issue” with iPhones. He then goes on to reiterate his confidence in the transcript, and ends by defensively stating “I didn’t make this up.” 

While the idea of a timestamp error was initially somewhat feasible, for the record, the only reason to doubt the timestamp was because of how implausible it rendered the transcript. However, in each of his subsequent appearances, West repeats that contention time and again. Notably, though, neither he nor any of the programs that have hosted him have ever taken steps to prove it. It is simply mentioned as a possible solution, then left for viewers to decide. 

Since the original airing of the CWD episode, the timestamp error explanation has been decisively refuted.

One interested party did investigate the timestamp issue — The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD). After analyzing the audio, West sent his findings to the CHPD. By then, the case had dragged on unsolved for over three years, so CHPD had an interest in reviewing West’s findings. But by August 2016, then-Lieutenant Celisa Lehew reported that they had verified the timestamp by pulling the cell tower logs. She also stated that investigators had reinterviewed people who were present at the time the call was made (only Rosario was mentioned, but police have a full accounting of who interacted with Hedgepeth at the nightclub and certainly spoke to others as well), and goes on to say only that the voicemail “may play a role” as the investigation continues.  Faith Hedgepeth | Chapel Hill police say UNC student's murder not cold case | Raleigh News & Observer (newsobserver.com) 

It needs to be said at this point that, even if the parts dealing with actual killing are excised, the voicemail transcript still purports to show an extremely aggressive and antagonistic encounter. It is highly unlikely Hedgepeth would have shrugged off such an exchange, continued socializing for over 40 minutes, then left in a relaxed state (for anyone believing Rosario is the other female on the audio, the idea that Hedgepeth would then drive home with her makes even less sense). It is also exceedingly unlikely that no one nearby would have made note of such a horrific argument.

In the years since the CWD episode, West has appeared on many other programs, discussing his interpretation of the voicemail. Many of his statements bear scrutiny: 

  1. Beyond the timestamp, the other aspect of his initial defense is also in error: “iPhones were inherently problematic with timestamping. It’s a known issue...” According to the search warrants released by CHPD, Hedgepeth owned an HTC phone, not an iPhone. Faith Hedgepeth Case Files (Redacted) - DocumentCloud (p. 60)
  2. In 2018, he appeared on Investigation Discovery’s “Breaking Homicide,” which decided to take the timestamp at face value.  In response, West only highlighted portions of his transcript that could conceivably be part of an argument taking place at a nightclub. Phrases such as “I think she’s dying,” “To our next victim,” “Get the duct tape… then they can tie up Faith,” and “Put her hands behind her head” were never mentioned. Who Killed Faith? | Breaking Homicide (investigationdiscovery.com)
  3. In the summer of 2019, journalist Tom Gasparoli interviewed West for his Pursuit Podcast. There, West returned to the idea that the voicemail had captured the murder and that the timestamp was off, characterizing cell technology in 2012 as being somehow unreliable. While a clip of Lehew was played, expressing confidence in the timestamp’s accuracy, the specific evidence supporting her claim was not (Gasparoli himself conducted the 2016 interview with Lehew.) Ep 8 Season 1: The Pocket Dial by Pursuit | Podchaser
  4. In 2021, West was featured on the Crime Weekly podcast with Stephanie Harlowe and Derek Levasseur, one of the leads of the 2018 “Breaking Homicide” episode. Here, West attempted to justify any transcription problems by pointing out that no two transcripts of one audio will ever be the same. While true, this is not the issue here. In 2016, ABC News sent the audio to a lab that works with the FBI, and were told it could not be enhanced at all. It’s not a matter of a few words being different. Crime Weekly / The Murder of Faith Hedgepeth (Part III) (audioboom.com) He also reiterated his criticism of 2012 cell technology and asserted that it was impossible to ever truly know the time of the call.

(Separately, West makes a crucial admission during this interview, stating he did some preliminary research after receiving the audio from CWD. As nearly every account of the case mentions both Karena Rosario and Eriq Takoy Jones, it is virtually certain he saw those names while doing his research, priming him to hear them when evaluating the audio.)

  1. Finally, West has in several mediums made attempts to discount the audio as being from a club, saying he should be able to hear people talking in the background or music playing. This is a bizarre assertion, as there are clearly a number of voices present, and musical elements of the song “Booty Werk” can distinctly be heard playing at points.

Moving past West himself, there have been other recent claims regarding the audio that should be examined.

Several recent podcasts have made the claim that Chavis’ deleting of the voicemail and then having it restored may have caused the issue with the timestamp. This claim is nonsensical. Voicemails files are stored separately from the call log. If a voicemail is deleted, the time the call was received is still maintained in the log, as anyone with a cell phone can readily verify.

Additionally, it has been erroneously reported that CHPD either released the voicemail as an attempt to drum up interest in the case or was forced to release by court order. Neither of these are true. Chavis gave the audio to CHPD shortly after the murder, then provided it to CWD a few years later, at which point it entered the collective consciousness. Unfortunately, the mistaken belief that CHPD views this voicemail as important has inflated its perceived significance far out of proportion.

In summary, the call definitely took place while Hedgepeth was at The Thrill nightclub and police are 100% satisfied with the 1:23 AM timestamp; this is not an open question, as it is usually presented. Rosario, and doubtless other witnesses present*, were questioned about the audio; we do not know what they said, but CHPD’s diminished interest in the call after those interviews points to them not validating it.** West stands completely behind the entirety of his transcription, yet it is impossible to believe the exchange took place in public. Other experts that have been consulted cannot get anything out of the audio, much less validate West’s work. And finally, West’s justifications and defenses of his work have a definite ad hoc feel about them, and do not stand up to scrutiny.

It is understandable that the public wants to know more about this crime. CHPD has been maddeningly tight-lipped about it, releasing as little information as they possibly can, and saying virtually nothing new about it for the last five years. The unfortunate result is that the information in the public domain takes on an out-sized level on importance, in this instance accelerated by expert testimony and the Hedgepeth family’s buy-in. But at the end of the day, not everything that happened to Faith Hedgepeth during the day of September 6th and morning of September 7th was relevant to her murder. She had conversations, visited people, studied, rushed, did countless other normal things, and accidently called a friend a few hours before she died.  There’s no real reason to believe that last event was of greater importance than anything else.

*While some people present may have an incentive to lie about an altercation, that cannot be said of everyone. Most of the men at Thrill are not suspected of involvement in Hedgepeth’s murder and in several cases had only known her and Rosario a short amount of time.

**As to whether an altercation happened at Thrill, in this instance the public is not necessarily limited to what CHPD has said, as the names of at least some of the men who were present are known- four or five are mentioned in the released case files alone (redacted, but named in some media accounts.) They could potentially be asked about the matter, and the fact that they apparently have not is a major journalistic oversight. They may not be willing to speak, but there is no reason they could not be asked.



There have been several analyses done of the 9-11 call. By nature, these are subjective and open to interpretation. However, previous evaluations were done without an appropriate context. This caused the meaning of certain portions of the call to be misunderstood.

Statement Analysis ®: 911 Call Faith Hedgepeth Murder 2012 (statement-analysis.blogspot.com)

The Death of Faith Hedgepeth: Getting Away with Murder | Crime Traveller

Several things must be understood as this call begins: 

  1. The caller, Karena Rosario, has just discovered her friend, Faith Hedgepeth, in the bedroom of the apartment they share. Her body is partially off the bed, leaning against it. She is naked from the waist down and surrounded by a large amount of blood.
  2. Hedgepeth has a black shirt pulled up over her head. Beyond a few small abrasions and bruises on her arms and legs, all her injuries are confined to her head and face. Rosario cannot see them.
  3. Hedgepeth is dead, and Rosario instinctively knows this. However, she does not want to commit to saying so. She does not want to touch the body.
  4. Rosario has had only a few moments to mentally process what she’s seeing.

D: Dispatcher

K: Karena Rosario

D: Durham 911, where is your emergency?

K: Hi. Um, I just walked into my apartment and my friend is just like… she’s unconscious.

Rosario stumbles before describing Hedgepeth as “unconscious.” This indicates some conflict about her word choice. As indicated above, she strongly believes Hedgepeth is already dead but chooses “unconscious,” probably because she is hoping to be wrong.

Also, it’s been alleged that the use of the word “friend” instead of “roommate” is somehow distancing. The opposite is true: Roommates are not necessarily personally close, whereas friends are.

D: OK. What’s your address ma’am?

K: I live at Hawthorne at the View.

D: Give me the address.

K: I just moved here, I’m about to get it. (Pause) Oh my God. It’s um 5-6-3-9 Old Chapel Hill Road in Durham.

Rosario gives the apartment complex name as her location. She does not have the proper address memorized. Being a college student who has moved around several times, she probably only needed the address a handful of times. She likely receives very little important mail there and uses a different, permanent address for most things. For most situations, the complex name combined with the apartment number is all that would be needed.

D: Ok, repeat it to me so I make sure I got it correct.

K: OK. 5-6-3-9 Old Chapel Hill Road it’s apt 1502.

D: 1502?

K: Yes.

The address is given within a few seconds of it being asked. The delay is inconsequential. If Rosario had time to prep for this call, she would have had the address immediately available, which would be expected and would not have seemed suspicious. Her failure to have it ready indicates a lack of preparation.

D: What’s the phone number you’re calling from?

K: 201-321-8075

D: Ok, you say your friend is unconscious?

K: She’s unconscious. I just walked in the apartment and there…it looks like there is blood everywhere...

This is the first mention of blood. Having reluctantly described Hedgepeth as unconscious, Rosario is now trying to bring the dispatcher around to understanding what she’s actually seeing —  a horrifically bloody scene. 

D: Ok listen to me, listen to me. Somebody’s already sending the ambulance. OK? I need to get some information from you and I’m gonna help, I’m gonna tell you how to help her, ok?

An extended sequence begins wherein the dispatcher attempts to instruct Rosario in life-saving techniques. Not wanting to touch the body, she continually deflects these attempts by describing the scene, trying to make the dispatcher to understand.

K: Ok.

D: Ok, how old is she?

K: She’s 19….

D: Ok.

K: I don’t know…I don’t want to touch her but….

Rosario’s reluctance is the natural aversion almost all people have to touching dead bodies. 

The dispatcher has not gotten the picture yet, though, going with Rosario’s initial description of “unconscious.”

D: Listen to me, is she breathing?

K: I don’t know.

The same dynamic continues. The dispatcher continues with the belief that Hedgepeth is merely unconscious. Rosario knows this is not the case but does not want to say it.

D: You need to check and see, is she breathing?

K: ( pause) K, I don’t think so….I don’t think so.

D: Ok listen to me-

K: There’s blood everywhere.

D: There’s what?

K: There’s blood everywhere.

D: Ok.

Rosario has repeated this several times now and finally has the dispatcher acknowledge it.

K: I don’t know what happened…

Hedgepeth is half on, half off the bed, partially wrapped in a comforter, nude from the waist down, with a shirt pulled over her head. Rosario can see a lot of blood, but from what she can see of Faith’s body, she’s largely uninjured. What has happened is very unclear

D:- Ok is she on her back or is she on her…laying on her stomach?

K: She’s on, she’s on her back, but like I think she fell off the bed, ‘causes she’s like…off the bed. There’s blood all over the pillows, like in the comforter… I just don’t know what happened.

Rosario is confused and trying to make sense of what she’s seeing. Since Hedgepeth is partially off the bed, Rosario wonders if she fell off and hurt herself somehow. Almost as if in answer to that thought, she immediately re-fixates on the amount of blood present and expresses uncertainty, realizing such a serious injury could not have resulted from a simple fall. 

At this point, she does not yet understand she’s seeing a murder scene.

D: Ok, alright…listen to me alright?

K: Is someone coming?

Rosario knows Hedgepeth is beyond help but is not yet feeling threatened. As a result, her question here is not particularly urgent. 

D: Yes I’ve got somebody coming. I’ve got somebody coming. I need for you to help her. I need for you to go up to her. We need to see if she’s breathing or not, ok?

K: I don’t think so.

D: Ok. Listen to me. Go up…the paramedics are on the way. I want you to stay on the line, I’m gonna tell you what to do next. Alright? Are you right by her now?

K: Yes.

D: Ok, listen carefully-

K: She’s not moving.

D: She’s not moving, ok.

K: No.

Rosario tries to get this across another way: “She’s not moving. She’s not breathing. There’s blood everywhere.” Please read between the lines and stop asking me to touch her!

D: OK, will you- touch her arm tell me how does she feel….

K: She’s not moving.

Rosario tries again, to the same effect.

D: Ok ma’am, we need to find out if we can help her or not. You’ve got to help, you know, do as I’m asking so we can help her. Alright?

K: Ok.

D: Ok if you can, lay her flat on her back, remove any pillows.

K: Lay her flat on her back?

D: Flat on her back, remove any pillows.

K: Ok.

Subsequent interviews with Marisol Rangel, who was also present during this call, indicate that neither she nor Rosario followed the above instruction. 

D: Ok. Kneel next to her, look in her mouth for food or vomit.

K: I can’t, there’s blood everywhere.

The crime scene has been described as incredibly bloody by investigators and Karena mentions blood 7 different times throughout the call. The sheer amount of it is causing her to have trouble focusing on anything else.

D: OK, kneel next to her, look in her mouth for food or vomit.

K: She’s soaked in blood… I don’t… I’m trying…

D: Tell me something- listen to me, what is your name?

K: Karena. I’m sorry, I’m really trying. 

Rosario gives her name here immediately. This is important to note, because later in the call the dispatcher has to ask her several times, which has been interpreted as reluctance to provide it. But she shows no reluctance here.

D: It’s ok, honey, it’s ok, honey.

K: There’s blood everywhere, I don’t know where it comes from.

Rosario’s restatement about the blood is a continued effort to make the dispatcher understand. She also explicitly states not knowing the source of the blood. More on this later.

D: Listen to me, listen to me alright- alright, listen to me. When you touch her, how does she feel?

K: What?

D: Does she feel warm?

K: (Pause) No, she feels cold.

Rosario finally brings herself to touch Hedgepeth’s body. Notably, her tone of voice in the above line is deeply anguished. Any lingering doubt she had about Faith being dead is gone. She does not refer to her as “unconscious” again after this.

D: She feels cold? Ok.

The dispatcher finally understands that Hedgepeth is dead and stops directing Rosario to perform any life-saving techniques. Correspondingly, Rosario stops mentioning the blood and Hedgepeth’s condition because the dispatcher is no longer prodding her to touch the body. Now that they are on the same page, Rosario begins to look around and notice other things about the scene. There is a clear change in the call at this point.

K: Yes.

D: Ok. Ok, alright. Don’t touch anything else, ok? Don’t touch anything else.

K: Is someone coming? Please, hurry.

Rosario is continuing to process the scene mentally, and the incongruities start to break through. She now starts pressing the dispatcher to hurry.

D: OK, they’re on the way I’ve got police on the way to you and I’ve got medics on the way to you.

K: I can’t believe this.

D: Ok. What room is she in?

K: She’s in my bedroom.

D: Ok I want you to go back into to the living room, ok?

K: I don’t know what’s going on, like there- there’s stuff in my room, that like, was not here before, it looks like someone had came in here-

Rosario has broken out of the tunnel vision she had upon first entering the bedroom. She’s dismissed the idea that Hedgepeth injured herself by falling off the bed. Now, she notices anomalies: There are objects in her room that were not there when she left. She understands the implications: This wasn’t an accident. What “stuff” refers to is not 100% clear. Likely, she’s referring to the note found next to Faith’s body, and the Bacardi rum bottle (the murder weapon) as well. 

D: Ok, ok.

K: It really does.

Rosario repeats this as much to convince herself as the dispatcher. Until experience teaches otherwise, people have an innate belief that things like this only happen to other people. 

D: Alright, what did you say your name was again?

K: It looks like someone came in here…because…

Rosario understands now that Hedgepeth was murdered. She wants the dispatcher to understand that too. 

D: Ok I don’t…

K: I don’t understand…

D: Ok, Listen to me, don’t touch anything else in the room.

K: I’m not touching.

D: I want you to leave that room, go into the living room. You need to make sure, make sure the door is unlocked so somebody can get in, so that the medics and the police can get in when they get there.

The dispatcher has come to the same conclusion and starts treating it as a crime scene.

K: I’m at the door. It’s unlocked. 

D: Ok, tell me again-

K: When are they gonna get here though?

Rosario only asked once before if EMS were in route. At that point, there was less urgency, as she understood Hedgepeth could not be helped but had not made the mental leap to murder. Now, there is urgency. She and Rangel probably did not thoroughly check the apartment and she’s acutely aware that whoever did this could still be close by. She asked the dispatcher to hurry a short time ago and now asks for an update.

D: Ok, they’re on their way honey, they’re coming as fast as they can. You just stay on the phone with me alright?

K: I am.

D: OK, tell me again what your name is?

K: It looks like someone had been in there because she’s not like this at all. I don’t know why she’s bleeding.

More pieces are falling into place for Rosario now. The meaning of “she’s not like this at all” is not clear, but like the presence of the “stuff,” it adds to Rosario’s belief that another person has been in the room. Possibly, it relates to Hedgepeth’s nudity; Rosario does not believe she would have been sleeping that way, so someone must have undressed her. That is purely speculative, though.

Her second statement is extremely important to understanding this call. “I don’t know why she’s bleeding.” Even though there’s blood everywhere, Rosario cannot see the source of it. The shirt over Hedgepeth’s head is preventing that. This is why she’s been repeating “I don’t know what happened” and “I don’t understand” over and over: Obviously the blood is somehow connected to her friend being dead, but there’s a disconnect there because she can’t see any serious injuries.

D: OK, I have let them know, we’ve got everybody on their way to help you. Now tell me again what your name is.

K: What?

D: What is your name?

K: Karena Rosario.

D: Karena?

K: Yes.

D: Ok, Karena. You just sit down on the couch and don’t touch anything ok, you just sit down.

K: I’m not touching anything.

She says this empathically. There’s a different motivation here from earlier, when she did not want to touch Faith’s body: She’s accepted that this is a crime scene. 

D: OK, ok, I just want you to sit down because the police and the medics are going to be there – they’re coming just as fast as they can alright?

K: Ok.

D: You just stay on the phone with me. 

K: Ok.

D: Stay on the phone with me.

K: Are you sure they’re coming?

This is the third time she’s either asked for haste or asked for an update in a very short time. She’s very concerned now.

D: Yes ma’am, they are on their way.

K: I just can’t believe this. I know someone had to have been in there.

She’s still having trouble believing this is what it looks like.

D: OK, we’ve got first responders on the way, the fire truck’s coming, there’s a medic coming, and the sheriff’s department is on their way to you.

K: OK.

D: You just stay on the phone with me until somebody gets there with you. Alright?

K: OK.

D: Ok, Karena. How old are you Karena?

K: I’m 20.

D: You’re 20? Ok, hon, you’re doing alright, you’re doing alright, you just stay on the phone with me.

K: I see the police.

D: You see the police?

K: Yes.

D: Ok… you let me know when they get in there with you then you can talk to them, alright? 

K: Ok.

D:I just don’t want you to be alone right now.

K: (Pause) Ok.

The fact that Rosario is not, in fact, alone has gotten endless attention. She pauses before answering, likely considering whether to correct the dispatcher, but decides not to because it does not really matter. The police arrive moments later and make note of Marisol Rangel’s presence. Rangel’s silence is also given a lot of attention. The simple explanation is that she’s deliberately being quiet, so she does not distract Rosario from her conversation with the dispatcher. She believes, rightly, that this is an important call. 


D: You just stay on the phone with me.

K: Ok.

D: Are they in there with you? Are they coming in?

K: Yes, thank you.

D: OK hon, alright. Bye bye.

K: Good bye.


The back and forth with the dispatcher is due to the disconnect between Rosario’s initial description and the reality of what she’s seeing. The dispatcher is proceeding from the belief that the victim can be helped, and Rosario is repeatedly trying to make her understand she can’t.

  1. There’s blood everywhere.
  2. She isn’t moving.
  3. Her body is cold.

Previous analysis of this call has deemed certain aspects of it suspicious. However, these were done absent full context. For instance, Rosario’s repetition of “I don’t know what happened” has been described as an attempt to establish she did not have prior knowledge of the crime; a fuller understanding of the scene shows she’s simply confused because there’s blood all over the place, but she can see no corresponding wounds on Hedgepeth. This interpretation is backed up by her “I don’t know where it comes from” and “I don’t know why she’s bleeding” statements. 

Also, Rosario’s repeated assertion that “someone was in there,” is often described as being so obvious that its inclusion arouses suspicion. Again, however, context proves otherwise, as her understanding evolves over the course of the call. She believes at first that she’s seeing an accident of some sort: Hedgepeth hurt herself by falling off the bed. This is not a logical conclusion, but she’s been on the scene only a few moments and is in a deep state of shock. Once she gets the dispatcher to understand Hedgepeth’s true condition, and no longer has to deflect the dispatcher’s orders to touch the body, she takes in more of the scene. She sees things that do not belong there, and probably other nuances, that tell her that someone else has been in that room. She makes the logical connection — someone was here, Hedgepeth is dead, and that person must have killed her. Once that threshold is crossed, she urgently wants the dispatcher to understand two additional things:

  1. An unknown person was in the room where her friend is dead.
  2. She wants the police there ASAP.

That is a completely expected and proper reaction.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Deja Vu... review of the case

Sorry, nothing really new, but for anyone new to the case, or who needs a refresher, the Durham Herald-Sun has put out this review/summary of the case (including at end a link to many of the key released documents):


Not sure of the timing of this story??? Or if it means anything? Usually this sort of synopsis would appear closer to the crime’s anniversary date in September, so end of March seems a little odd…? Anyway, a good quickie review.

Monday, September 7, 2020

8 Years... and counting

 An old quip says: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Is that what the Chapel Hill Police Dept. has in mind when they refuse year-after-year-after-year to comment substantively on (or answer questions about) Faith's brutal death, other than to claim, against all public perception, that it is not a cold case.

Unthinkably, this case, chock-full of evidence and clues has now passed the 8-year mark without solution, and with no sense of a break in the case coming any time soon. How many of Faith’s friends, family, and loved ones, will themselves be deceased by the time any progress is shown in the case; by the time, if ever, her killer is brought to justice? How many are doomed to pass from this Earth with the frustration and emptiness of not knowing what happened to Faith and why? Eight years and counting…. incredible.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

More TV Coverage

As most know who have followed this crime, Discovery ID covered the case once again a few days ago. For any who missed the showing a reader here sends along these links that should work for you:

main show:

some followup:

...nothing much new in all of this, but helps keep this baffling (seemingly cold) case alive in the public eye.
Meanwhile, genetic genealogy, slowly expanding the number of trained practitioners, continues to solve crimes on a near weekly basis, though mostly decades-old cold cases. When it might get around to a crime not even 8 years old yet (8-yr. anniversary coming this September), I don't know yet.