Saturday, December 16, 2017

Five years and 100 days ago -- Podcast, Pt. 2: "You have to think multiple people know about this"

The second episode of my conversation on Faith's case with former Secret Service agent John Taylor is now up on his website, Twisted Podcast.

In his open, Taylor says Faith's murder is "the most perplexing case I've ever researched." That's saying a lot.

You can hear Pt. 2 at the link below. The conversation starts right around 3:00 in. Some highlights...with additional points of reflection/commentary from me, below the link.

It opens with the beginning of Karena Rosario's 911 call on September 7, 2012. 

Taylor, who is now a crime writer/author and private investigator, discussed that call with me at some length in Part 1.

I have said many times here: more than a few things about Karena's call just aren't "right." They:
  • Aren't what you'd expect
  • Aren't similar to most of what I've heard before from a party with no culpability
  • Aren't indicative, in my view, of a roommate who was stunned, afraid, and immediately grieving the grievous wounds and apparent death of a friend.
I have to say: listen to only about 30 seconds of that call on this episode, right off the top, and see if it seems totally "legit" to you. 

(The entire 911 call is also on this blog at my  post.

I could be wrong. I've been wrong before. I'll be wrong again. But I don't think that 911 call is all it purports to be.


Taylor asks me about Takoy Jones. We know his DNA doesn't match what was left at the scene. We don't know why he appears to have written such strange things around the time of the murder. 

I suspect there's a lot about Takoy Jones we don't know.


In Pt. 2, Taylor and I talk about the fact the police have told me they've done some 800 DNA tests. 

Taylor calls that "incredible."

We discuss the cruel and almost astonishing paradox of an out of control murder with a controlled note left at the scene – found but a few feet away. That doesn't make sense if just one person were involved at that scene. 

It is telling and in the end, may be the crucible that somehow breaks the case – the note.


Taylor asks me if I put any validity in the idea that the murderer or murderers meant to kill Karena...went there for that purpose or for the purpose of attacking her in some manner. That  Faith was not the intended victim.

Could that somehow explain Karena's all but non-existent public "profile" in the last five years? 

To me, nothing we know explains Karena's public silence on this case...the terrible murder of her friend, Faith.

After Faith's family, don't you think she would be the most powerful advocate foe the public's help? She lived with her, was with her all evening, presumably cared about her...and found her beaten body in her own (Karena's) bedroom.

Why wouldn't she at least be out there every few months urging with all her heart for someone to speak up, to provide the key bring resolution to the murder that happened in her own apartment?


In our discussion Taylor and I talk about the recorded pocket dial - apparently from The Thrill nightclub on the early morning of Faith's death. An audio expert created a powerful transcript of what he believed was being said: in his view, repeated moments of intense hostility...seemingly aimed at Faith. 

Other experts apparently strongly disagree that what this expert heard...can be discerned.

In response, I say to Taylor: "He (the expert) doesn't have the incentive" put out something that leads to ridicule. Does he?

I add: "I'm not sure we have to think he's pulling it out of thin air."


At about 19 minutes in to the 26-minute conversation, Taylor asks me what I think it's going to take to break this case.

My initial one-word answer. "Bravery" 
Then I explain what I mean.


Taylor and I both agree that, beyond the fervent desire to solve this case – to find justice – the person who actually carried out the deadly beating is nothing if not...
...acutely dangerous. A walking threat to anyone who crosses him.

Taylor: "It's not a one-time thing."

Gaspo: "Someone who does this can do it again."

But: it seems this killer and his possible confederates...have not murdered again. Remember, there's DNA. A databank waiting to catch the primary perpetrator.

So far.

Where is he? Who is he?

Taylor says in the podcast, "You have to think multiple people know about this."


I think people involved in this crime, and others who likely know the truth...are reading these words.

Someday, justice is going to show up at the the car, at a place of work. 

You will never stop hearing Faith's footsteps...until they find you. 

...  TG

Chapel Hill Police: 919-942-7515

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"This Case Is Maddening To Me"

John Taylor of Raleigh, a former Secret Service agent and analyst – now a private investigator, author, and podcaster – has devoted two episodes of his podcast, "Twisted," to a conversation with me on Faith's case.

The first is up now at:

We don't break any news or do any digging – rather, we explore, analyze, and exchange ideas on Faith's death: what may have transpired leading up to the terrible attack, why, and what clues point where.

Episode 2, the second part of our conversation, will go up December 15.


Taylor has significant experience as an analyst of evidence; he is also not as close to the case I have been.

He brings a distant and experienced eye, as it were...up close to a set of facts some of us have been swimming in for five years. 

In preparation for this post, I asked Taylor for some additional thoughts, turning the tables a bit. For the podcast, he interviewed me. Then, I interviewed truncated fashion.

First, I asked the former federal agent why he chose to take a look at and talk about Faith's case.

JT: Faith's case pulled me in initially because it was a life with some much promise that came to an end way too soon. The case itself should have been easily solved. There is so much evidence, yet it hasn't. That is completely perplexing to me and has kept me engaged. And of course, Faith deserves justice.

I sent him this response:

TG: As an aside, just because one has DNA doesn't mean it is easily solved, right? I could argue: if it were easy, one of the 800 would have matched.. or one of the first 5-10. You'd think interviews would have cracked someone..but they don't..always. 

And you have to know they've surveilled folks in a variety of ways.

Seems whatever the FBI or SBI may have suggested to them, they've done it.

This is not a defense of CHPD...just that if it were easy, would have been solved.

Unless mistakes were made, and without seeing the file, can't really tell.

JT: You have a note, which indicates it was someone close to her and you have what is most likely the killer's DNA. On the surface it should have been solved within months, but it hasn't. 

As far as I can tell, CHPD hasn't made any mistakes that kept this case from being solved. If they had and I was aware of them, I would have definitely brought them up. From what I have seen, they appear to have done a very thorough and good job on this case. 

That is what is so perplexing. Most unsolved cases either have major police errors or limited evidence. Not the case here. 

I have done a lot of research on DNA errors and the possibility they excluded someone who actually matched. That is highly unlikely. A false positive is much more likely than determining it wasn't a match when it was. I also looked into the possibility someone's DNA could change. There is a disease where that can happen, but also, very rare. 

This case is maddening to me.


Many readers of may know that a woman named Brooke Simpson, a remarkable singer, is a participant in the current season of "The Voice." 

Brooke is also a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribal community in and around Hollister, NC, not far from Louisburg. And she was a second cousin to Faith Hedgepeth.

This week on the show, Simpson did a mesmerizing version of "Amazing Grace." 
Thinking of Faith and her family of during her rendition of 'Amazing Grace," just sit in silence and listen.

Previously on the show, Brooke performed the Pink song, "What About Us?" This one will seize your emotions...and in a way, capture hope, or at least determination that an arrest will someday, somehow, arrive.

Today's News & Observer story reported that Simpson was,"...wearing traditional, beaded earrings in front of monitors displaying Native American weavings.

“Native American people have been through so much and often we are forgotten,” she wrote on Facebook the next day. “I’m so proud to play a small role in shedding light on us and our culture.”

Faith is not forgotten. Far from it. 

Roland Hedgepeth, Faith's father, is of course happy about Brooke Simpson's success...but was quoted in the story saying:

"...he can’t find too much solace in entertainment, or anything anymore. Because, nothing takes his mind off his daughter for very long on any day.

“In reality, sometimes, I wish there was something that would help take my mind off of her,” he said. “I miss her terribly. I miss her terribly every day.”

From "What About Us,":

We are searchlights, we can see in the dark
We are rockets, pointed up at the stars

We are billions of beautiful hearts.

What about all the times you said you had the answers?

##   TG