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).]

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.

Friday, September 6, 2019

7th Anniversary

Tomorrow will be the seventh anniversary of Faith Hedgepeth’s brutal murder with no indication of a suspect in sight. The UNC daily newspaper ran a summary article today on the crime (which many or most current students likely don’t even recall):

Surprisingly, the Chapel Hill police have not come out with their usual yearly statement asking (pretty futilely) for help from the public (if they come out with some statement tomorrow or this coming week, I’ll add an Addendum below to cover it).

After a long absence from the case, Tom Gasparoli is finally out with a 10-part podcast covering the crime (and it’s not overly kind to the Chapel Hill police effort):

Anyone interested in the case should definitely give it a listen (each episode ~25 - 30+ mins.).  While most of it is old facts/information/speculations that we’ve seen before, there are, here-and-there, new bits not previously reported. Also, a good place for anyone newly-exploring the case to start. Different folks will find different things of interest. I’m intrigued by mention of a suspicious champagne Lexus SUV mentioned toward the end of episode 5 (seems like that should've been fairly easy to track down, though no indication if it ever was?), but there are other parts listeners may be drawn to as well. We keep meandering in circles on this case, with people largely locked into their own pet theories by now, and Tom’s effort probably won’t sway people’s opinions, but still interesting stuff to hear (even if there are several things I don’t concur with).

Wish I had more/better news to report at the 7-year mark — never dreamed this case would go unsolved for this long (even possible the murderer(s) is dead by now, though I doubt it; SOMEbody knows SOMEthing!). And still so many unanswered questions....

Keep the Faith....

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Questions Into the Ether...

Incredibly, we are just a month away from the 7th anniversary of this horrific crime; another year of speculation, podcasts, frustration, and seemingly no progress. Will CHPD come out with any sort of statement or news, beyond ‘we’re working on it,’?… seems doubtful. Either lawyer-types don’t want them to talk (and 'compromise' the case) or their own P.R. folks don’t want them to talk (and possibly confirm that the case was bungled early on). 
Does anyone who knows anything directly about the crime (i.e. the perps) still reside in the area, in the state, in the country; are they even still alive? Is Parabon working on the case? In what sense is it NOT a cold case? Most students returning to the University of N. Carolina for fall semester right now probably have little or no memory of the crime. And so many new unsolved American crimes vie for attention each and every year how long will Faith's murder get the focus it needs? How many of Faith's loved ones and acquaintances will live long enough to see a solution or justice? How many more violent crimes has the perp(s) committed since that fateful morning 7 years ago (and how many more victims)? And when there finally is a solution to the case will the multi-year effort and difficulty make any more sense then it does now? Just asking....

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Genetic Genealogy Update...

Feel like I should do some sort of update on genetic genealogy, in general… so much has been happening.
I’ll skip all the (many and fascinating) cold cases that appear to have been solved by the new technique, though they have yet to go to trial, and the legal/ethical/privacy issues remain, and just note two things:

1)  Again, the majority of cases being worked on (though not entirely) seem to be very old 30-45-year-old unsolved crimes finally being brought to resolution. So I don’t know how much, if any work, has been done on Faith’s 7-year-old murder. :(

2)  But worse or more pertinent, is that because of privacy concerns, GEDmatch (one of the main databases used in this work) has recently altered their policy so that a participant must now OPT IN to allowing crime fighters to access their data — previously, police could by default, use their data, but now the default mode is inaccessibility by law enforcement. Even though all indications are that people WANT their data used to help solve violent crimes, the simple fact is that individuals tend, in general, not to bother with manually changing default settings, which now they must do to permit investigators access.
So far ~50,000 users have opted IN for the use of their data, but that is out of over 1.2 million in the database, causing CeCe Moore, one of the most prominent genetic genealogists out there, to comment, “It’s basically useless now. Our work on any new cases is significantly stalled.” This is sad to hear, even if it turns out to be a temporary setback.
I suspect over time, and perhaps some court cases, such databases will again be widely useable for such crime-solving, but the immediate near-term is murky.

ADDENDUM:  there are multiple companies doing genetic genealogy but Parabon is certainly the most widely-known and publicized, and they recently mentioned that they were limiting themselves to "cold cases" since there is SO MUCH work out there to do and they must set up criteria... SO, that too is worrisome since Chapel Hill Police continue to deny that Faith's murder is a cold case, perhaps therefore removing it from Parabon's interest.
I suspect we can assume at this point there will be no news come the 7th anniversary in September. Ughhhh!

Here, by the way, is one interview with CeCe explaining a lot about the technique:

Saturday, April 13, 2019

April Update

Nothing new, but feel like entering a quick update:

1)  There have been several new podcasts focused on Faith's death in the last few months. I haven't been linking to them since they are basically recapitulations that don't add anything new to the several other podcasts I already link to on this blog. I do make mention of them now though just to show that this case, rather than fading, seems to be gaining greater interest in the public eye. I've honestly been surprised at how many different people have now covered it, though part of that is simply the proliferation of unsolved-crime podcasts. There is a wide audience for this genre of podcast, and even if I don't link to them all I'm always happy to see Faith's case kept in front of more eyes and ears!

2)  I've said that I hope genetic genealogy will solve this case, and even stated somewhere way back that I thought it would be solved by March of this year. Obviously, that time has come and gone. At the time I made the prediction I believe Parabon NanoLabs may have been working on ~200 or more cases. One factor I failed to take into consideration, is that with every success (and they've had MANY), and increased publicity, more police departments would seek them out to assist on more cases, including very old unsolved cases. I have no idea how many cases have been handed to Parabon by now but it could be closer to 1000, and it takes awhile to sufficiently train additional researchers to conduct this relatively new form of investigation. The bulk of their solutions (though not all) continue to be quite old 10 - 40 year-old crimes, so it's hard to know where a case like Faith's may fall in their priorities -- I still hope it is solved before the 7th anniversary date in September, but just a hope. When these cases do break, they tend to break abruptly, with no public forewarning of the news to come, just suddenly an arrest.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Halfway Through March

Had really hoped that Parabon NanoLabs might have a solution to this crime before the end of March, but seeming less likely now. On the bright side, Parabon continues along a pace of solving about one crime per week, so could easily have another 40+ crimes solved before end-of-year… but, that’s out of 100s they are now investigating… and they still seem to be working heavily (though not exclusively), on crimes that are 10 - 30+ years old (Faith’s murder has a 7th anniversary next Sept.). Also, I suspect those crimes that result in the fewest hits from DNA (and thus require less genealogical ‘footwork’ to complete), take precedence over crimes that may result in many genetic links that then require much longer time to sort through. So patience still required… at least I don’t see how any further police work will solve this case… other than the DNA.

On a separate note, this old listing from the NC State Bureau of Investigation lists the crime as occurring between 2:40am. and 11 am

Seems a bit odd… the women arrived home ~2:40 and the body was found ~11:00… could law enforcement not put at least a slightly narrower range on the crime’s commission than THAT!? I’ve complained before about the baffling lack of an estimated time-of-death for Faith, and this wide range seems equally baffling. Is this law enforcement's way of saying that they don’t necessarily believe Karena’s assertion that Faith was alive at 4:30am., when she (KR) left the apartment? Or, was estimated time-of-death, rather than being withheld from the public, so badly botched by attendees that law enforcement simply has no &%$#*!! idea themselves? So much about this case just doesn't add up other than by assuming a lot of negligence in its investigation. Indeed, some think the unprecedented initial two years of refusal to release vital information on this crime was not about protecting the integrity of the case, but rather about covering up for police ineptitude. I don't know what to believe any longer.  Perhaps when this case is finally solved there will emerge some understanding of why it took this long... or, perhaps, it will simply seem all the more ludicrous that it took so long.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Clock Is Ticking....

For those as interested as I am, just a couple more recent articles on genetic genealogy and the work of Parabon Nanolabs (with a second independent lab now also entering this burgeoning forensic field):

(this one is about the newly-solved story of a 26-year-old Alaska murder -- Parabon seems to be solving about a case per week now)

Tick tock... tick tock... tick tock... the clock is ticking on the solution to Faith's murder...
Someone out there is probably experiencing difficulty sleeping these days, especially pondering how they will look sleeping in stripes....

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Questions With Answers... that we aren't privy to

If the police really want the public to contribute to this case (as they persistently claim) they need to open up about what is known about this case -- there is so much confusion and uncertainty at this point. A lot of time is squandered in forums/podcasts/videos and the like debating or speculating over matters which the police almost assuredly already have answers to. Here are some of the key things they know that we aren’t privy to, and are thus left babbling in the dark:

1)  What was Karena’s explanation for leaving the apartment door unlocked when she departed early that morning?

2)  What were Eric Jones’ explanations for his incriminating statements on social media prior to Faith’s murder?

3)  What is the estimated time of death of the victim and why has it never been reported?

4)  At times police have talked of being down to no more than 10 persons of interest — how many, if any, of those would be regarded as “suspects”? How many of them are names the public has never heard of in disclosed documents?

5)  Were any pertinent unidentifiable fingerprints collected at the crime scene?

6)  Of the 100s of “new” leads police claimed following ABC’s 20/20 show, are any still being looked at?

7)  Have police lost contact with any of the ‘persons-of-interest’ over the 6+ year interim?

8)  How often is the case’s DNA re-submitted to the appropriate agencies, and what were the results of the fingernail scrapings taken from Faith at autopsy?

9)  Roughly how many men may have overlapped with Faith & KR at the Thrill on the night in question who have never been ID'd or interviewed? (a few, dozens, over 100?)

10)  My understanding is that LE has determined by multiple means that the infamous “butt-dial” occurred while the women were at the Thrill, but does there remain any conceivable way the time-stamp is wrong and it took place much later?

11)  Re: the bag note left at the scene….  Based on their investigation, do police have definite ideas whether the note was written before or after the crime, by one or more than one individual, and by a male or female? (or are they shooting in the dark as much as the rest of us)

So many things the police have answers to and we don’t… if we did, it could sure narrow down our focus.

When LE is so stingy with information and allows 6 long years to pass by, it’s no surprise the public has little to offer back, as the case drags on and on and on, and memories fade.
As I keep repeating, it seems all up to a few lab techs now, the police appear stymied.
    * crickets *....

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Keeping Watch On Parabon…

The latest crime case solved by Parabon NanoLabs was reported in the news recently, a 12+ year-old West Coast cold case:

And back in Sept. 2018, Parabon reported that it had solved 10 cases in the first 100 days of employing its “genetic genealogy” (ave. = 1 case every 10 days):

Although most cases are 10-20+ years-old, a few have been more recent (under 5 yrs. old).

By the end of 2018, Parabon had helped identify suspects in over 30 cases. Speed and efficiency of their techniques are ramping up, as would be expected, and the company writes at one point that they have “come to expect a successful identification nearly every week.” Seems likely we can expect 50 or more suspects (perhaps over 100) to be pinpointed in 2019, from the 100s of unsolved cases they are working on. 

The difficult part of “genetic genealogy” is not the laboratory part of finding relatives to a perpetrator, but the more painstaking, manual detective/search work of deducing, from all possible relatives, which may actually track back to an individual who is a good fit for the known facts of the crime.
Chapel Hill Police have long said they have an abundance of evidence in Faith’s case, they just need a DNA match to tie it all to. It’s increasingly hard to imagine that by the end of this year they won’t have that match… and a lot of rampant speculation can be brought to an end.
ADDENDUM: another 20-yr-old unsolved case, right up the road from Chapel Hill in Mebane, NC., was recently closed using genetic genealogy when a 10-yr.-old victim was finally identified:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Just Checking In…

No real news on this frustrating case. After 6+ years of varied reporting on the crime (press/newspapers, TV, law enforcement, bloggers, podcasts, etc.) much of the information is becoming a blur; difficult to keep track of facts versus speculation, misinformation, and simple inaccuracies; discussion of the case becomes very repetitive, or moving in circles without progress. Things that seemed established suddenly come under question. Aggravating. 
One of the most staunch original, independent investigators of the crime, Tom Gasparoli, seems to have abandoned the case entirely [Addendum: Tom writes in, below comment, to say he has NOT abandoned the case and can still be contacted].  Meanwhile, with added publicity many new sleuthers have come to the case even at this late date. So it’s not too surprising that over at the Websleuths’ site/thread debate has even opened again over whether Faith was raped or not, even over whether semen was collected at the scene.
I won’t take time to try and find all the sources of info, but will state again what I believe is true for the case in this regard.

 First, the terms “rape,” “attempted rape,” and “sexual assault” have, from the beginning, been loosely thrown around. “Rape” would imply actual penetration, while the latter two terms may only include an attempt at such without completion of the act. My reading of the case has long been that semen was found ON Faith or on her clothing and perhaps on the bedding as well. Semen was NOT found IN Faith (and certainly officers responding to the scene would NOT have collected that at the scene — a coroner or other professional using a rape collection kit would have collected such if anyone did, and it’s never been reported). This clearly points to a MALE perp, and attempted rape, at the crime scene, as the police have always so indicated (talk of some prior consensual sexual encounter for Faith that night to possibly explain away the semen DNA just makes no real sense, IMO — people often seem to want to explain the semen away simply to make it a red herring and cast more aspersions at Karena — I don’t agree with that).

Two things have long struck me about this crime:
1)  A young, healthy, fit woman is brutally assaulted in an apt. building yet barely a sound is heard by any neighbor (3 “thumps” hardly constitute much disruptive noise).
2)  The victim is murdered by a forceful blow to the head with a rum bottle that just happens to be nearby.

#1 leads me to believe there may well have been two perps, one manhandling/controlling Faith (keeping her silent) while the other attempted rape. Though possibly a large individual could simultaneously keep Faith controlled while attempting to sexually assault (worth noting that no significant drugs, and only minor alcohol, was found in Faith at autopsy, so it’s not likely she was drugged or sedated).
I’ve previously speculated that IF there were two perps involved they were likely VERY close colleagues (perhaps even blood relatives), since it’s unusual for two perps to completely hold their silence on a crime after this many years, unless they are deeply close and involved protecting each other (though possible one or both have died in the interim time!).
A further speculation could be that IF there is a second individual, that individual was part of Karena/Faith’s circle, since they undoubtedly left touch DNA in the apt. Yet police have never mentioned any 2nd example of male DNA in the apt. of unknown origin, and no doubt if fully examined, the apt. would have included male DNA from many visitors. Perhaps 2 males, one known to Faith, showed up at the apt. that morning, and Faith recognizing one, willingly let them in, and fraternized in a friendly manner, before things got totally out-of-hand. (Sheer speculation of one possible scenario.)

#2 above (sudden blow to head from nearby object) implies I think a very rash, unplanned brutal act out of sheer, uncontrolled impulse/rage. Something done to stop immediately whatever Faith was doing. Were they forcing her to perform oral sex, and she bit the perp’s organ? While struggling, did she kick the perp in the groin, gouge at his eyes, bite his arm, spit in or scratch his face?… I can only imagine such a fierce defense causing such a swift, sudden, murderous response (I've never believed the perp(s) went there planning on murder.)

Again, all of this is nothing more than speculation on my part, that I find more likely than some of the convoluted scenarios put forth elsewhere, which require a LOT of individuals to know a LOT more than they’ve ever disclosed in 6+ years.
With all that said, there’s not much I completely rule in or out at this point in this exasperating case. All any of us can do is look over the same sets of information and reach our own logical/common-sense conclusions.
And I still believe/hope (as I've said before) that genetic genealogy analysis may yet offer a solution to this case by the end of February, but that too is mere speculation on my part. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

6th Anniversary…

The 6th anniversary of Faith’s brutal murder has now passed with, as expected not much new. I won’t link to the various local news coverage, but will mention that from reports it does now seem clear (as I’d previously hoped/assumed) that the case has been given to Parabon Labs genetic genealogy test group for investigation. I don’t know how much if any work they have already done on it, or where the case sits in terms of priority with all their other cases, but my guess (and solely a GUESS) is that some notable result will come from that by the end of February next year. Certainly hope so. There are friends and family of Faith who may well be deceased, and sadly never getting answers, before resolution comes to this case. Is the perp(s) even still alive and still in the U.S.???

Chapel Hill police also released their now obligatory yearly request for further information from anyone in the public who may harbor additional information, no matter how small. Specifically, the lead investigator is quoted as saying,
We continue to believe that someone knows more about this case than they have been willing to tell us. We’re pleading to that person or people to come forward so we can provide closure to Faith’s family, friends, and the Chapel Hill community.”
The specific wording certainly makes it sound like they have specific individuals in mind who they think have not told all they know.  And anyone who has followed this case knows several of the names of who such individuals might be.  Do police believe these individuals were present at the crime scene, or just have knowledge through contacts of what transpired? Are police still in touch with such persons on a regular basis? Do they still know the whereabouts/addresses of all such individuals? Or is it possible they think there are persons they have never even contacted who hold key information?
I continue to put more faith in Parabon and technology to solve this case than appeals to the public.

Meanwhile, Tom Gasparoli no longer seems to be covering the case, and did not do his usual update on this 6th anniversary. 
In any event, here's hoping there will be NO 7th anniversary of this case as an unsolved crime.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Cold Case???

With school newly open and the 6th anniversary of Faith’s brutal death approaching within weeks, Chapel Hill police will be out in force conducting speed traps, checking for underage drinking, citing jaywalkers, monitoring protests, patrolling sport events… but will they have anything new to say, any consoling information for Faith's family, ANYthing new at all concerning Faith’s death? ANYTHING?
Just askin'....

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Faith’s Killer Is Doomed

IF you’re a perpetrator who left DNA at a crime scene… you will be caught… you WILL BE CAUGHT in due time, almost certainly, thanks to new “game-changer” genetic genealogy techniques (I've cited before). News this week that a 6th old case has been solved, using the new methods — a 30-year-old child murder in Indiana:

140 more cases are being looked at, but of course there are 1000s, potentially, to be solved.

DNA doesn't go away, and doesn't lie. Faith’s killer should know that they are doomed… it’s only a matter of time now. They must fear every ring of the phone, every knock on the door, every tap on the shoulder, every check of their mailbox, every news flash, every new contact, every time they hear their name called... never knowing which will be the time they will hear, 'we know what you did, now come with us.' 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Estimated-Time-Of-Death... What If?

I’ve been thinking about this more and more so will post it here….

A few things worth noting:

1)  Faith’s body was discovered around 11am, with police there soon after.

2)  We know Faith and Karena arrived home from the Thrill shortly before 3am. and Karena then left again around 4:30 — IF Karena killed Faith (which I DON’T believe, but some do) she had a narrow window of opportunity to do it, basically an hour, say between 3:15 and 4:15am., 7-8 hrs. before Faith's body was found.

3)  I (and I think many others) have always presumed the crime occurred after Karena departed, but still under the cover of darkness before sunrise, say between 4:45 and 6:45am, a 2-hr. window, 4-6 hrs. before discovery.

4)  We have never been told an estimated-time-of-death for Faith, either from the police nor the Coroner.

The table below, I found on the Web, summarizes bodily changes that take place within 48 hours of death:

Time since death: …. Change observed

1-2 hours: ………Early signs of lividity. [blue-gray discoloring]

2-5 hours: ………Clear signs of lividity throughout body.
5-7 hours: ………Rigor mortis begins in face.
8-12 hours: ….….Rigor mortis established throughout the body, extending to arms and legs

12 hours: ……….Body has cooled to about 25°C internally.
20-24 hours: …...Body has cooled to surrounding temperature.
24 hours: ……….Rigor mortis begins to disappear from the body in roughly the same order as it appeared.
36 hours: ……….Rigor mortis has completely disappeared.
48 hours: ……….Body discoloration shows that decomposition is beginning.


Thus, if Karena were the killer, 7-8 hours earlier, one would expect some noticeable rigor mortis and extensive lividity.

IF the crime occurred after Karena left but before sunrise, 4-6 hrs. before the body was found, one might only expect some rigor mortis beginning in the face, if any at all.

Of course neither rigor mortis or lividity is described in Karena’s 911 call, which may be understandable under the circumstances. I’m a bit more surprised that the first officer on the scene also made no mention of rigor mortis or lividity in his brief initial report (though perhaps I’m wrong to think such an observation would be routinely recorded?).

But this all does leave yet one other possibility: that there was NO lividity or rigor mortis to note when the body was discovered! That the murder took place much closer to 11am! Perhaps this would account too for why very little suspicious was seen or heard from the apt. that morning. By say 9:30am. maybe most occupants had left for work or school and there were few renters (potential witnesses) lingering around? Perhaps the crime occurred AFTER 10 am. in the morning! Is that plausible? — I have no idea (especially since I think Faith would've left for classes well before 10?); again the police can probably either rule that possibility in or out, but haven’t allowed us to do so. Such a late time for the crime might also very much alter theories of who-done-it.
I still believe the 4:45 - 6:45 time slot is the most probable; but I'm less certain than I was previously in this confounding case.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Crossing My Fingers… This May Be Encouraging!?

I'm increasingly, hesitantly hopeful in this case!:

Most have heard the news of familial DNA being used recently to pinpoint a suspect in the decades-old “Golden State Killer” cold case. And now a second cold case in Washington state from 1987 may have been solved using the same technique: 

This is all being done as a relatively new application by Parabon NanoLabs the SAME company that developed the highly publicized DNA phenotype/profile in Faith’s case. Their new technique is called genetic genealogy service. You can read more about it (and how it differs from more traditional familial searching) here:

But here’s the article that gives me hope/encouragement:

Apparently the company has already used the procedure in ~100 more cold-type cases and gotten leads in ~20 of them, though nothing has been publicly released yet, but a company spokesperson says, I think there is going to be press around this very soon.” Given that police in Faith’s case have already employed Parabon previously I’m hoping just perhaps (I don’t know) Faith’s case is one of those involved, or if it isn't it soon will be.

ADDENDUM:  No doubt there will be more articles coming along, and there is now this one from Atlantic Magazine saying the "floodgates" may soon open to solving crimes with genetic technology:

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Numbers Game?

Not much real news happening so I’ll just put in a sort of ‘filler’ post…

I continue to receive notes from folks (as well as seeing them across the Web) pointing the finger at Karena Rosario, essentially proclaiming ‘It’s obvious Karena did it,’ ‘Karena is guilty, how can anyone not see that,’ ‘Any fool knows Karena killed her’… etc. All you have to do is explain how and why such a brutal, seemingly impulsive attack would have been pulled off by a ‘best’ friend (while there could have been some bad blood between Faith and Karena, no evidence solidly demonstrates it)… And moreover how Karena managed to talk a male acquaintance to pick up a few key items in the apartment and also leave his semen at the scene, just to draw attention away from her is another task you must explain. One can concoct some scenarios for how she could have done such, especially if you assume the crime was planned for days or weeks in advance, but it requires a pretty convoluted route (in my opinion)… and even more convoluted if you think she killed Faith first and then asked a male to help her out a bit. The police are convinced the killer is a male, and so am I (...one thing I'm not entirely convinced of though is whether or not Faith was even the intended victim).

Certainly possible that KR knows more than she’s told — perhaps she is protecting someone, or quiet because she fears for her own life or that of her family… but, I doubt it. She’s spoken to police at least 10 times about the crime; there’s absolutely no reason for her to continue to give in (and re-live that day over again) to badgering from press or public asking the same redundant questions over and over and over and over.

Because of the “Breaking Homicide” episode some others are now pointing at the boyfriend Ty McNeil… the sort of new flavor-of-the-month for this crime… again based on speculation and circumstantial details; and again little solid evidence that I’m aware of.

And way back at the very beginning of the investigation of course we had Eriq Takoy Jones, who seemed a slam-dunk suspect, and one of the few named figures I’m still quite curious about — would love to know how he answered police interrogation about his incriminating social messages, or his disingenuous comments at the crime scene on day 1. Again, no solid evidence he is the perp, but does he know more than he's told?

Anyway, the point is that people, quite naturally, keep throwing their aspersions at the names we already know, that have appeared in police documents or online videos. That’s convenient and easy, but may be hasty or ill-conceived.

If I look over all my old notes, based on official documents released at the 2-year point and press coverage since, I can maybe come up with a dozen names of some suspicious interest. And researching those names in turn I might even come up with an additional dozen names or so, but that’s about it.

On-the-other-hand, on the morning of Sept. 7, 2012, Faith and Karena attended a night club for about an hour-and-a-half where they were exposed to dozens if not over 100 males, who may have approached them, encountered them, interacted with them, or simply admired them from afar — that, to me, is a LOT of possible suspects who we know almost nothing about (…and it’s not clear to me that police have very deep knowledge of ALL the males at the Thrill that morning either). So just from the standpoint of proximity of the Thrill visit to the murder, and the sheer number of males present there, I continue to believe the probability is great that the perp stems from that population (and all the more-so given that 100s of males from Faith's own social circles have already been tested and cleared). I’m always willing to be persuaded otherwise, but so far nothing has done it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Outside-the-Box ...+Addenda

Will hesitantly re-state my own purely-speculative guess as to what may have transpired the night of Faith’s murder… even though I’m less confident than ever that it is even close to actuality, and acknowledging there are LOTS of other plausible theories out there, just none that seem to conform well to all the things we know! But I'll do it because the Breaking Homicide broadcast once again leads people down the path to Karena and Takoy (and now a boyfriend as well), and I’m not comfortable that that is the best or simplest fit for the known evidence (though I do remain suspicious of Eric Takoy Jones and his associates, and the new Ty McNeil connection is intriguing, but that is all). In fact it’s hard for me to imagine that if Karena or Eric is involved, police haven’t been able to demonstrate it after 5+ years of investigation in such a brutal case and crime scene — even without a DNA match there ought be a lot more to connect one of them directly to the crime by now.
My own rough scenario has always been along the following general lines:

First I’ll note that this was a very vicious, brutal crime… with no real indication it (the murder) was pre-planned, premeditated, or “staged” at all (though possible). Instead I think it stemmed from spontaneous, momentary and impulsive rage following a robbery, rape attempt, or other crime/encounter gone awry. With that said…:

Faith and Karena go to the Thrill where at some point they encounter a couple of guys (who are either blood relatives or close friends of one another) — these may be complete strangers (possibly event transients) to the women, or 2 men who slightly knew them through some other social context. The men take a fancy to the girls and try to hook up, but are rejected.  Annoyed by them, Karena eventually concocts the excuse of a headache to leave the Club and escape any unwanted advances, leaving the men angry/jealous. Either from the girls themselves or from others at the Club the men get enough information to Google around and get the girls’ address. After some further drinking or drugs they decide they should pay the women a visit, and maybe they can yet party with them (or maybe teach them a lesson for being too snooty). 
There are many possible scenarios once they get to the Hawthorn apt., but my point is I think they may have gone looking for both women and with NO intent whatsoever for murder. But getting there and finding Faith alone they took advantage of the situation, leading to a sexual assault on Faith. At some point in her struggle to resist, she either bit one of them, kicked him in the groin, tried poking his eyes out, or otherwise committed a painful, defensive act absolutely enraging the assaulter in-the-moment, causing him/them to subdue her with the nearest thing possible (the bottle). (I believe it may have required 2 individuals to have simultaneously manhandled Faith so brutally yet produced so little noise from the apt.)

The hardest thing for me to account for is the bag note, but then that is difficult to explain under any scenario. I believe the above scheme, which admittedly has its own problems, nonetheless fits what is known at least as well as other scenarios.

People are naturally gravitating toward Karena, Takoy, etc. because they want to believe this crime can be solved and that the solution is right before their eyes (in the form of names/characters we already know). But (for now) I’ll continue to speculate that the perp may be someone entirely unknown from released documents and reports, and that is exactly why the case has dragged on for so long (...I’m reminded of the Mississippi Jessica Chambers vicious-burning murder case that I followed for a year where dozens of names were mentioned on the Web, yet in the end the person arrested was someone who hadn't crossed internet radar).
We’re all tired of hearing it, but unless some major flaw is found in the DNA analysis done, this case needs a (perhaps NON-Black, NON-Caucasian) male DNA match above all else (possibly from an eventual CODIS hit); ALL the circumstantial speculation about other matters will not get us to an endpoint, and is open to multiple interpretations. We're all operating heavily on gut instincts and intuitions which can be misleading.

Having said all this, toward the end of the “Breaking…” show they bring up Occam’s Razor, which indeed is the approach I always take toward crimes, BUT in the instance of long-unsolved crimes Occam’s Razor often breaks down and there are some quite unexpected twists… which is one reason I’m less confident than ever that the simple scenario I’ve painted above is true (it’s too simple!)… I put it forth anyway because I believe people do need to think outside-the-box of Karena and Takoy, and accept that what we know in this case, what the police have disclosed, may be but a small fraction of what there is to know. I won't be surprised if it turns out that someone out there has the right theory, but I'll be even less surprised if it turns out no one does.

[…If by chance you haven’t already seen the Hedgepeth Breaking Homicide episode it officially airs tonight (10pm EDT) and Derrick Levasseur, one of the hosts, says he will be live-tweeting (@DerrickL) throughout, so that may be interesting or it may just be hectic and repetitious.]


ADDENDUM:  Looked at all the comments of those live-tweeting the episode last night; a few thoughts:

1)  I had some slim hope that with 1000s of new eyes on this case someone just might spot something different or have an original idea not previously offered… but as expected, for those who have followed the case for a long time, it was almost entirely re-hash of predictable, redundant thoughts, with the vast majority of folks again led to suspect Karena.

2)  To my surprise I think only 1 or 2 people asked about the estimated time-of-death — a question I’ve long been asking — surely somewhere out there is an officially-established time-of-death, but it has oddly never been released even though it could help dispel some of the theories put forth.

3)  A small number of people did ask about fingerprints — were there noteworthy fingerprints on the bag, the pen, the bottle, doorknobs…? Again, an obvious question I’ve posed before, and bizarrely the police have never addressed.

4)  Finally, I’ve surmised before that Faith fought back mightily, probably leaving defensive wounds (bruises, scratches, marks) on her attacker’s arms (who probably wore long sleeves during the ensuing hot September days), and one commenter did note that police would surely have seen defensive marks on Karena’s or Eric’s arms in the first 48 hours if there had been any to see.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"Breaking Homicide" ...+Addenda

A little catching up....
Folks may want to view the emotional address that Faith's sister, Rolanda Hedgepeth, gave during National Crime Victims' Rights Week earlier in April:


The newest investigation of the case though was offered up by Investigation/Discovery's new "Breaking Homicide" series with a 90+ minute episode here:

[For some reason, I could not get this to load in my Safari browser, but then switched to Chrome and had no problems, so try a different browser if yours doesn't work.]

It includes a lot of re-hashed material of course, but also with fresh (though often speculative) bits of new information. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that it moves us very far forward, but viewers will find it interesting. And I won't be detailing all the bits that were new to me, because again, for now at least, they don't alter my overall view of the case (though learning of the boyfriend "Alex" "Ty" is an interesting new angle). Other viewers will weigh things out differently.

I will mention the two major beefs I have with the treatment:

1)  They don't mention at all the DNA phenotype that was a major piece of ABC's 20/20 segment on this case, and that supposedly gave Chapel Hill Police 100s of more leads (nor have CHPD ever made further mention of this computer-generated profile). Is that because the phenotype is no longer considered valid or credible, or some other reason? One would think it would have at least garnered a mention, even if only to discount it. (It points away from a Black or Caucasian suspect.)

2)  But my biggest problem is the short-shrift given the DNA evidence. The case presented by Breaking Homicide leans heavily toward Karena Rosario, Takoy Jones, and Faith boyfriend Alex Ty. But the CHPD have said for quite some time now that the perp is whoever left DNA on the bottle, note, perhaps pen, and in the form of semen -- THAT (according to police) points to who committed this crime and that DNA did NOT come from Rosario, Jones, or Alex  Ty. Yes, it's possible to concoct scenarios or staged scenes in which one individual commits the crime but enlists someone else to leave the DNA (although why someone would even be willing to leave such DNA at such a brutal crime scene is hard to fathom), but it complicates things immensely. "Occam's Razor" (mentioned in the show) can be abandoned.
The DNA evidence is among the strongest, most distinct evidence in this case, but because of the lack of a match, it keeps playing second fiddle (in many minds) to far more speculative, sketchy evidence/ideas. The episode hosts say the problem is that there is too much DNA (because so many individuals spent time in that apt.), but we are only concerned with the male DNA on a very few items, that so far has no match.
  Also, the episode repeated a couple of times the belief that CHPD are down to 4-5 main suspects, but I'm not convinced they have ANY real suspects at this point, other than people they'd still like to hear more from.

Finally, the hosts put a lot of weight on the thumps heard from Faith's apt. before 3am. on the morning of the crime, and strongly imply that that may be when the murder ensued (while Karena was still there). Again, I wish we had an estimated time-of-death for Faith that would either include or eliminate death that early on (but we don't, and I was surprised they didn't pursue an estimated-time-of-death more).

Anyway, do enjoy the program, and view it carefully. People will reach their own conclusions. I'm sure many will find the case they make quite convincing, but as usual so many questions still lack firm answers, even though gut-feelings abound.


ADDENDUM:  one thing I’ll add is that the episode twice stated that it was unknown if Takoy Jones was at the Thrill nightclub on the night before the crime — my own understanding (from some earlier reporting) is that police had established that Jones was NOT at the Club, but his cousin WAS, and there’s always been some question as to any communication between Jones and his cousin on that night. It is frustrating (though not unusual) that so many of the “facts” of this case are in some dispute via varying press reports.

ADDENDUM2:  Another matter I wish they would have considered more is whether or not Faith was even the intended victim of this crime? Again harking back to the DNA phenotype which indicated likelihood of a Hispanic perp, Karena, being Hispanic, may have had more Hispanic contacts in her circle of acquaintances than others in this case — did someone come looking for HER that night, only to get into an altercation with Faith (possibly fueled by alcohol or drugs) that then led to this seemingly spontaneous (not planned) act of rage?

[I’ll probably re-post my own conception of this crime, which differs from the Breaking Homicide conjecture, in an upcoming post, but for the moment want to continue to watch various reactions to the show on some other sites/forums.]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Keeping a Cold Case Warm

Another new brief crime video covers Faith’s case again:

Just rehash/summary material; nothing new, but at least it keeps the case in the public eye where it needs to be, and may bring it to the attention of new eyes who take a fresh interest.

Meanwhile, we are almost halfway into year 6 since this senseless, brutal crime transpired and are hearing nothing substantively new or significant about the case. Tom Gasparoli wonders aloud if the perpetrator is even still alive, and others wonder how badly the forensic/investigative case has simply been botched.