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 him...in 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 mean..one 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 gaspowrites.com 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,"...you 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

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