Warrants outline evidence linking man to 2012 killing of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth

·4 min read

The Durham man accused of killing Faith Hedgepeth was arrested after investigators linked DNA from a rape kit, a wine bottle and other evidence at the 2012 crime scene to his distant relatives, newly released court documents reveal.

Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares, 28, was charged with first-degree murder Sept. 16, about nine years after the 19-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore was found dead in a friend’s apartment near the Durham-Chapel Hill border.

Police said after the arrest that they had matched Salguero-Olivares to DNA evidence, but they didn’t give details about when or how he became a suspect in the case.

Three related search warrants were sealed in Wake County court from Oct. 1 until Dec. 30 after police said releasing the information could undermine the investigation.

The request for the seal wasn’t renewed, and the search warrants were released to a reporter from The News & Observer on Thursday.

Two warrants — one seeking blood, hair and saliva from Salguero-Olivares and a second seeking evidence in his Durham apartment of the killing — were issued the day before his arrest and carried out the day of his arrest, the documents show.

A third Sept. 30 warrant sought “fingerprints/palmprints.”

The warrants state that police found Hedgepeth beside her bed, partly clothed and dead from blunt force trauma on Sept. 7, 2012.

“Officers also observed a large amount of blood on Hedgepeth’s bed, clothing, bed sheets and on her body,” state the warrants, sought by P.A. Stevens, assistant special agent in charge with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.

A bloody liquor bottle was also found rolled up in Hedgepeth’s bed sheets, which were on the floor beside her body. Police also found an empty bottle of wine.

Police collected evidence for a rape kit and obtained an unknown male’s DNA, which was also linked to semen found on Hedgepeth’s body, DNA found on the wine and liquor bottles, and a note believed to be written by the suspect, the warrant states.

Search warrants released in 2014 indicated police found a white, fast-food bag on the bed with the message: “I’M NOT STUPID BITCH” “JEALOUS.”

Two fingerprints and one palmprint were found on the wine bottle, the warrants state. The warrants indicate that initial prints obtained from Salguero-Olivares matched one of the palm prints found on the bottle, but sought additional prints from him to confirm.

Ancestry technology, DWI traffic stop

Investigators turned to ancestry technology to identify individuals associated with the DNA found at the scene, the warrant states. Distant family members were identified and interviewed, and their DNA was collected.

Using that information and other records, investigators identified Salguero-Olivares, who was living in Chapel Hill at the time based on arrest records, the warrants state.

On Sept. 14, two days before he was charged with murder, investigators from Chapel Hill and the SBI got a DNA sample that had been obtained from Salguero-Olivares without his knowledge during a DWI traffic stop, the search warrant states. The DNA was taken to the N.C. Crime Lab in Raleigh to compare with the evidence found at the 2012 crime scene.

On Aug. 16, Salguero-Olivares was arrested and charged with driving while impaired in Raleigh after an officer found him asleep in his running vehicle with an open container of alcohol and slurred speech, according to court records. He failed to appear in court Sept. 3. An order for his arrest was issued Sept. 7, court documents showed.

It’s unclear if the DWI stop referenced in the warrant was related to that charge or a separate suspicion of driving while impaired.

After searching Salguero-Olivares’ Durham apartment on Sept. 16, police seized six cell phones and one laptop, the warrants states.

Dreamed of becoming a doctor

Hedgepeth was a native of Hollister — a small community on North Carolina’s Warren-Halifax County border — and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribal community.

She attended UNC on a scholarship and was also working her way through college, with the dream of becoming a pediatrician and moving back home to serve her community, The N&O previously reported.

After the 2012 killing, Chapel Hill police did thousands of interviews and tested hundreds of DNA samples during a years-long investigation covered by national media and told in different television crimes series.

Attorney General Josh Stein said in September that 229 DNA samples had been analyzed to rule out suspects.

Salguero-Olivares remains in the Durham County jail on no bail. It is unclear when his next court date is.

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