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Police Continue to Seek Help in UNC Student, Faith Hedgepeth’s Death…

March 11, 2013 Comments off

faith

Faith Hedgepeth was a biology major at the University of North Carolina who was found dead in an apparent homicide on Sept. 7, 2012.
 

Chapel Hill police continue to investigate the death of Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, a 19-year-old UNC student whose body was found in her apartment in early September.

Early in the investigation, and without releasing details about the cause of Hedgepeth’s death, police indicated they believed her death was not the result of a random act of violence.

Hundreds of students gathered on Sept. 10 in the Pit to mourn. Hedgepeth, who grew up in Halifax County, had long been active in the American Indian community.

Over the following weeks, little new information emerged. In early January, police shared additional information.

A statement issued by the Chapel Hill Police Department said the investigation had found that Hedgepeth and her roommate had been at a local nightclub, The Thrill, in the early hours of Sept. 7. They also said that Hedgepeth was last known to be alive at about 3 a.m. at the apartment she shared with her roommate and that DNA evidence collected at the apartment was left by a male suspect.

Investigators have consulted other agencies, including the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, leading them to believe that:

  • The homicide suspect was familiar with the victim and may have lived near the victim in the past.
  • The suspect was unaccounted for during the early hours of Sept. 7, 2012.
  • The suspect may have made comments regarding the victim to close associates in the past.
  • There may have been some change in the suspect’s behavior after the murder (to include an unusual interest in the case) or a change in his performance at work or school.

A reward of up to $39,000, including $25,000 pledged by the Board of Trustees, has been offered for information leading to an arrest. The police department has appealed to anyone with information about the death to call the police department’s tip line at (919) 614-6363 or the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.

Hedgepeth was part of the Haliwa-Saponi American Indian Tribe in Warren County. At Carolina, she was involved with Unheard Voices, an a cappella group; Carolina Indian Circle; and Alpha Pi Omega sorority.

She received a Gates Millennium Scholarship and an Alston-Pleasants Scholarship to attend UNC.

Via CBS News Crimesider

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Signature

My Letter to Michelle Obama by Amy J. Matthews…

October 28, 2012 1 comment

Dear Mrs. Obama:

I am writing to you today because I respect you very much, and I know how important both the issues of Domestic Violence and the right of everyone to have Affordable Health Care are to you.

I want to introduce you to an amazing woman and advocate Susan Murphy- Milano. Susan is currently dying of Cancer due to the lack of Health Insurance. Everywhere she applied for help turned her down and she was informed that she did not qualify for their services. I know you agree that there is something terribly wrong when a country as great as ours can let this happen to anyone, yet alone someone who has devoted her entire life to saving the  lives of others and without once thinking about what it could mean to her own.

Susan grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a 30-year veteran Chicago Police Detective and Violent Crimes Investigator Phillip Murphy. Susan’s father murdered her mother in 1989 and then turned the gun on himself committing suicide.  His intent was to kill his daughter as well. On the way to the house to try to save her mother something made her take an unexpected turn on the way. This decision is the only reason Susan is alive today. Had she taken her normal route Susan would not be with us now! Susan lived a life of trying to keep her mother alive her entire life and after her mother was murdered she devoted her entire life to saving others.

This most amazing woman is now on her last days after putting up a good fight. I am writing you today because I know you care. I know you care about the women and children in this country, the state of our health care, and every person’s God given human right. It is not just women and children that Susan has saved; there is no gender bias when it comes to abuses towards another.

Susan is the leading expert on Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence, and at the time when she discovered she had Cancer she was already in stage 4. This all happened just as her lifelong dreams were coming true. Susan is the women who mentored Rev. Neil Schori , Stacy Peterson’s Pastor and taught him everything he knows about Intimate Partner violence. Together they created The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit    which is a legal document that can be used in court as legal testimony even if the victim is murdered or missing.

This tragic news about Susan came just as her lifelong work was getting known. Susan was getting invitations from law enforcement agencies all over the country to come and train Law Enforcement and first responders what to look for when they answer a call, or respond to a crime scene.  She was preparing to start working at a University where she was given Carte Blanche and offered full use of the Universities resources to help her with her work. She did not apply to work at this University they came to her asking her to please come and head this project. Susan was offered her own Television Show which was scheduled to air this winter.  Again she was approached by the producers she did not seek them they sought Susan. These are just a few of the triumphs that have a major impact in the field of Intimate Partner Violence!  Susan was now in high demand all over the country. But her work was suddenly halted in its prime due to her health.

Susan had a good chance to recover had she had the treatment she needed. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment for this Country which I know you and the President both agree. I am so sorry that the President’s Health plan has been fought against and has not been put into place. This is something that may have saved not only the life of this amazing woman but could have saved countless other people both through Susan’s work and the health plan combined.

This is what Susan said when she made the announcement about her Cancer:

“My dreams and hard work are now becoming reality.
In early fall there will be a national announcement about the Intimate Partner Violence Institute with two major universities.

A national conference and training hosted by the Naperville Christian Church is scheduled for the first week of October on the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit for law enforcement, prosecutors and first responders.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit APP will be at the Apple Store on Monday July, 2, 2012.

Holding My Hand Through Hell will be released nationwide October 1, 2012.

Everything will still happen as scheduled”.

Susan Murphy Milano June 27 2012

Please check out these links and Google her name for more on Susan. I know you will love her as much as I do and as the countless women she has saved

Susan’s Cancer blog Conquering Cancer which she started to try to change the way society looks and Cancer treatment

Susan’s Main Blog  Susan Murphy Milano’s Journal to educate the public on Intimate Partner Violence

Document the Abuse website for the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit 

Susan’s latest book “Holding My Hand Through Hell” is about her life and what it was like for her growing up in an abusive home.  She wrote this book for the purpose of helping others who are living the same hell that Susan grew up living in.  After reading this book people will know why Susan is the who she is.

See Susan’s other books here

Chicago Tribune article and interview with The Rev. Neil Schori.

Listen here to Rev. Schori interview after the trial of Drew Peterson

Susan Murphy Milano and her work in Chicago. Please watch this video and you will see the great work she has done in the past!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and listen to the interviews.

I would like to invite you to the Facebook prayer page for Susan. You will be in awe of the outpouring of prayers and thoughts of people whose lives were changed just by knowing her.

God Bless you and The President for all the work that has been done and is being done to make our lives better.

Sincerely,

Amy J. Matthews

Book Release, Susan Murphy-Milano – Holding My Hand Through Hell…

October 24, 2012 Comments off

Susan Murphy-Milano once again has gone over and beyond the call of duty in her most recent released book, Holding My Hand Through Hell.

Susan, a “Success Survivor” herself of victimization and a well known Advocate in the Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence arena takes you on the ride of her life.  Ladies and gentlemen……………HOLD ON! and get ready for the read that you will not be able to put down!

Susan has never been an open book.  She has seldom opened up, never allowing the women in crisis, her close friends nor others to see or hear the damning side of her life that existed from the time she could remember. 

It was nationally known that her father was a decorated detective in the Chicago Police Department.  He killed her mother and then himself after many years of dealing the many forms of abusive power at her mother, brother and herself.   Susan was hell bent that she was going to make a difference in our society and that she does.  Yes, her father was hidden behind the blue badge, everyone covered up for him and/or turned their cheek rather than to slap his ass in jail with charges that would have stuck.

Susan has made sure in her book, Holding My Hand Through Hell that no stone was left unturned.  This book is graphic and extremely detailed, but guess what…..domestic/intimate partner violence and child abuse is graphic, raw, ugly and nasty.  One never knows when it may rear it’s ugly head.  This book can be overwhelming at times but yet……there is inspiration throughout her life that is shared.

I have personally witnessed Susan in “crisis mode” with victims who reached out to her.  Susan is always twenty steps ahead of the assailant, compassionate but firm as she instructs the victim exactly what to do and how to get it done.  Keep in mind that no victim ever died on her watch.  When assisting in solving homicides she is always on target, she would sniff out the perp just like a K9.  Susan doesn’t ever back down, yes she walks the walk and most definitely talks the talk.  When a mission presents itself to Susan she immediately goes into survival mode.  Survival mode is what Susan has known all of her life all too well.  To witness her in this mode is simply breath taking.

Holding My Hand Through Hell also proves to us all that God is always present in our lives and Susan has proved this over and over.  God was with her through every trial and tribulation; God has a purpose for each and every one of us.  We may not understand at the time while in the pain but eventually when we realize the purpose we must act upon it and follow God’s plan.  

Susan’s Murphy-Milano‘s testimony proves that she never gave up on God, she could have but never turned her back on her spiritual Father.  In turn he has used her story to make a major difference in countless lives.

**********************************************************************

At this time Susan is slipping away from us after suffering from Stage IV cancer.

May you feel God’s loving embrace as He wraps His arms around you protecting and guiding you on your journey home.  Blessings my friend.  I love you.

**********************************************************************

Holding My Hand Through Hell is available at:

Ice Cube Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Take care and STAY SAFE!

HOLDING MY HAND THROUGH HELL by Susan Murphy Milano

October 7, 2012 Comments off

This poignant well-written book tells the story of a police officer’s family and a daughter’s quest for justice long after the heart-wrenching murder of her mother. Susan Murphy Milano embraces a legacy of unconditional love and faith to triumph over a life plagued with unspeakable abuse and pain.

Based on a true story, told with the flow of a novel, spiced with frank wisdom and with, Holding My Hand Through Hell encourages the reader to immerse themselves into this family s life and is an inspiration to become an advocate for change in this world we all share.

Holding My Hand Through Hell will incite discussion, debate, and heightened awareness about hope, survival, abuse, murder, and its impact on our society. In the end, it will leave readers both applauding this woman as well as wondering how she escaped, sometimes at the eleventh hour. Twenty years later, she has realized that God must have been holding her hand through hell, delivering her from the evils of her life in order to save others.

“Raw and riveting Holding My Hand Through Hell starts fast and never lets up. In this powerful memoir, author Susan Murphy Milano throws open her personal closet so that we see what drives this woman to tirelessly champion voiceless victims and the people who love them”…… Steve Jackson, NY Times best-selling author.

About Susan Murphy-Milano

SUSAN MURPHY MILANO is a specialist in intimate partner violence and works nationally with domestic violence programs, law enforcement and prosecutors providing technical and consulting services in “high risk” domestic violence and stalking related cases.  Her principal objective is to intervene before a victim is seriously injured or killed.  Utilizing a procedure which she devised, the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit© Murphy Milano’s clients are all still alive.

SUSAN MURPHY MILANO is the author of DEFENDING OUR LIVES (Doubleday 1996), MOVING OUT, MOVING ON (Kind Living Press 2008), and TIME’S UP (Dog Ear Publishing 2010) which guide those in abusive relationships to a place of freedom and safety.

Susan’s quest for justice was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois Stalking Law and the Lauternberg Act.  She has been prominently featured in newspapers, magazines, radio and television including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Radio, ABC’S 20/20, Justice Files, E-True Hollywood, CNN, Sunday Today Show Profile, Women’s Day, Family Circle, US News and World Report to name only a few.   She has frequently participated in guest media commentary panels on major news programs.

To learn more about Susan and her work, please visit the following sites:

SusanMurphy-Milano.Com

DocumentTheAbuse.Com

HoldingMyHandThroughHell.Com

Facebook….Twitter….LinkedIn

Holding My Hand Through Hell

Book Tour Stops:

Thursday, October 4: Official Launch from Heartland Fall Forum with Jillian Maas Backman and Ice Cube Press Publisher, Steve Semken on radio show, Change Already!  

LISTEN TO PODCAST

Friday, October 5:  Writing is a CrimeDiane Fanning (wrote the foreword)

Saturday, October 6: Shattered Lives with Donna R. Gore LISTEN LIVE

Monday, October 8: Truth, Justice, and All-American Allergen-Free Apple PieHeidi Hiatt

Tuesday, October 9: NeilSchori.Com Pastor Neil Schori

Wednesday, October 10: Losing Austin, Finding MyselfAnita Sullivan

Thursday, October 11: Safe Relationships MagazineSandra L. Brown, MA

Friday, October 12:  Statement AnalysisPeter Hyatt

Monday, October 15: HopeForHealing.Org and GayleCrabtree.ComGayle Crabtree

Tuesday, October 16: Crime Wire with Dennis Griffin LISTEN LIVE

Wednesday, October 17: Justice Cafe

Thursday, October 18: Danielle Pierre

Friday, October 19: Washington TimesPaula Carrasquillo

Monday, October 22: PamelaChapman.Biz Pamela Chapman

Tuesday, October 23: The Roth Show BlogDr. Laurie Roth

Wednesday, October 24: AnnyJacoby.ComAnny Jacoby

Thursday, October 25: Amy Elk, Voice Over Actress, and Justice for NiqueAmy Elk

Friday, October 26: Doc Bonn BlogDr. Scott Bonn

Monday, October 29: Cynthia Caron

Tuesday, October 30: DonnaGore.ComDonna R. Gore “LadyJustice”

Thursday, November 1: Crime, She WritesCathy Scott

Friday, November 2: BurlBarer.Net, Burl Barer

Monday, November 5: Survivors JusticePatricia McKnight

Via ImaginePublicity

1 is 2 Many

October 2, 2012 Comments off

 

Despite the significant progress made in reducing violence against women, young women continue to face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. In the last year, one in 10 teens has reported being physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One in five young women has been sexually assaulted while in college. In response to these alarming statistics, Vice President Biden launched the 1 is 2 many campaign last year. This campaign focuses his longstanding commitment to reducing violence against women specifically on teens and young women ages 16-24. By targeting the importance of changing attitudes that lead to violence, and educating the public on the realities of abuse, the Obama Administration is leading the way to stop violence against women before it begins.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden join with Eli Manning, Jeremy Lin, Jimmy Rollins, Evan Longoria, David Beckham, Joe Torre and Andy Katz in this PSA to raise awareness about dating violence.

Thank you to all of the participants in the video for sending a loud message that must be heard by all.
Take care and STAY SAFE!

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

October 1, 2012 2 comments

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins I have been thinking of what awareness means to our families, friends and communities.

For hotline and court advocates who respond to crisis calls and provide ongoing support to victims, awareness means seeing the pain that family violence creates for those caught in its grip, as well as celebrating the courage it takes for individuals to rebuild their lives and regain the sense of self after enduring emotional or physical abuse from a loved one. For many community members, awareness may mean seeing friends or family members struggle with this issue now or from the past and getting information about how to help them. For young people it may mean learning about what to expect in a healthy intimate relationship through programs such as “Save the Date” or other programs being offered. Communities and Advocates all around are working diligently to bring awareness of and to prevent and end domestic violence.

The message of advocacy and awareness deserves a wider audience as there is a mix of responses to the epidemic. Those who interact and support the cause know the importance of the work that is being done and are committed to helping organizations continue to provide high quality free services in English and Spanish. Unfortunately, many people are unclear about who the domestic violence agencies are, where they are and what they do. Domestic violence awareness extends beyond the specific month designated for this purpose.

Ways for you to contribute and get involved are:

  • Let your friends and businesses you patronize know what Domestic Violence is, who and what the agency in your community are and what they do. Thank those who support your local agency.
  • Involve your church or favorite civic group in this work through an educational or fundraising event.
  • Make your voice heard in the local media and at election time to advocate for resources for survivors and supportive legislation.
  • Stop by your local Domestic Violence agency and meet their wonderful staff.
  • Volunteer your time or resources to help support community education, office or hotline needs.
  • Serve on a board committee to help with events, fundraising and other activities.

It is imperative that we work together toward the effort, explore ways that we can work together to make our families and communities more peaceful and nurturing for everyone.

I extend many thanks to all who give their time, knowledge and spirit to this work and mission.

Check out (Google them if necessary) events in your community and consider attending:
Take Back The Night
(an international rally and march that is organized in local communities with the purpose of unifying women, men, and children in an awareness of violence against women, children and families.
Beards BeCAUSE – Clean Shaven Party
Beards BeCAUSE is a unique, fun, and successful fundraiser while raising awareness about the issue of domestic violence and making a positive impact and contribution to United Family Services – Shelter For Battered Women
Annual Candlelight Vigil & Memorial
Honoring statewide DV-related homicide victims this past year
Domestic Violence is a Men’s Issue
Join other men (and women) step up to take a pledge turning the tide against violence of women and girls.
Change is Gonna Come
Screening & Community dialogue – this event will screen a play performed at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC written by Vickie Evans capturing domestic violence in the church. An open community dialogue will follow.

Nationally:
Check out DV Awareness Project for ideas on DVAM events & resources.

North Carolina:
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence statewide theme for North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month is “Domestic Violence Affects Everyone: Everyone Can Make A Difference” North Carolina calendar of events

Presidential Proclamation — National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2012

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2012

- – – – – – -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

For far too long, domestic violence was ignored or treated as a private matter where victims were left to suffer in silence without hope of intervention. As we mark the 18th anniversary of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, authored by Vice President Joe Biden, we reflect on how far we have come. We have made significant progress in changing laws and attitudes, providing support to survivors, and reducing the incidence of domestic violence. But we also know that we have not come far enough, and that there is more work left to be done. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we stand with all those who have been affected by this terrible crime, recognize the individuals and groups who have stepped forward to break the cycle of violence, and recommit to putting an end to domestic violence in America.

Despite considerable progress in reducing domestic violence, an average of three women in the United States lose their lives every day as a result of these unconscionable acts. And while women between the ages of 16 and 24 are among the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence, domestic violence affects people regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Tragically, without intervention, children exposed to such violence can suffer serious long-term consequences that may include difficulty in school, post-traumatic disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and criminal behavior.

My Administration remains committed to getting victims the help they need, from emergency shelter and legal assistance to transitional housing and services for children. We are also working to stop violence before it starts. Last year, agencies across the Federal Government held town hall meetings nationwide to promote men’s roles in ending violence against women. Through Vice President Biden’s 1is2many initiative, we built on that progress earlier this year by releasing a public service announcement that features professional athletes and other role models speaking out against dating violence. This April, I directed leaders throughout my Administration to increase efforts to prevent and combat domestic violence involving Federal employees and address its effects on the Federal workforce. Since August, the Affordable Care Act has required most insurance plans to make domestic violence screening and counseling available as a preventive service for women — without co-payments, deductibles, or other cost-sharing. And most recently, we developed a new initiative to reduce domestic violence homicides through high risk screening and linking victims with services. Moreover, my Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to strengthen and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

While government must do its part, all Americans can play a role in ending domestic violence. Each of us can promote healthy relationships, speak out when we see injustice in our communities, stand with survivors we know, and change attitudes that perpetuate the cycle of abuse. We must also ensure that survivors of domestic violence know they are not alone, and that there are resources available to them. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to learn more by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or by visiting www.TheHotline.org.

This month, let us renew our efforts to support victims of domestic violence in their time of greatest need, and to realize an America where no one lives in fear because they feel unsafe in their own home.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2012 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

A Victim’s safety always needs to come first and foremost.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

UNC Chapel Hill, NC on HIGH ALERT! A murder and a sexual assault of two students within a week…

September 16, 2012 Comments off

UNC students are on alert, about an attack on a female student.

Chapel Hill Police say they’re looking for a suspect described as “a college-aged white male.”

The police say they got the report Saturday afternoon, and the victim says she was sexually assaulted in the early morning, off, but near the school grounds.

All the students we talked to had already gotten the message about the possible threat.

Nisha Walton read the warning to us, off her cell phone. She and other U.N.C. students got the warning from the school’s “Alert Carolina” about the sexual assault of a female student.

Walton said, “Most of the alerts that I have gotten have been concerning sexual assault on females. I wouldn’t say it’s something that’s common on campus, it’s usually off campus.”

Police say this most recent one also happened off campus, at a nearby home.

On Sunday, Chapel Hill Police patrolled the downtown area close to the school.

Students say they’ve learned it’s best to travel together to stay safe. Walton said, “I usually do group activities on campus, and not go somewhere when it’s like late at night or early in the morning, cause there was an incident when a girl was running and some guy tried to attack her.”

Male students say they’re worried too. Student Reddy says he also got the email saying a woman had been sexually assaulted.

Reddy said, “I am concerned, yeah campus safety is a problem, but I think the campus does have a lot of safety measures in place. And I think they do a good job for the most part. But incidents like these are problematic.”

The students praise the school for keeping them in the loop, even in cases where crime happens off- campus.

Shelby Rawlins, a UNC student , said, “I definitely think that they have to do, they have to be extra cautious. So I think that’s why they put out the email, but I definitely feel, like I feel safe enough.”

We’ve asked Chapel Hill Police for a copy of the incident report, and will release more information as we get it. Police ask people who know anything about the alleged crime to call Crimestoppers at (919) 942-7515.

Meanwhile, UNC is asking its students to keep watching the “Alert Carolina” website for updates. That website is alertcarolina.unc.edu.

UNC-Chapel Hill sent out the alert Saturday warning of a sexual assault reported near campus.

The alert said Chapel Hill police were investigating a report from a female student that she’d been assaulted in a residence near campus in the early morning hours Saturday.

The suspect was described only as a college age white male.

Chapel Hill police Sunday declined to provide any more details.

The campus alert said UNC police were asking anyone with information to call 911 or contact the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC CrimeStoppers at (919) 942-7515. Information can also be submitted online at http://www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.

Via NBC17

A week ago, UNC lost a fellow student, Faith Danielle Hedgepath:

Chapel Hill Police are investigating the death of a UNC student identified as Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, and at this time they are treating the incident as a homicide.

“Police received a call after the victim was discovered in her residence at 5639 Old Chapel Hill Road, which is the Hawthorne on the Hill apartment complex. Friends contacted police after they located the deceased around 11 a.m,” said Lieutenant Kevin Gunter. “At this point police do not believe this was a random act.”

Hedgepeth was a biology major from Warrenton, N.C, and a waitress at the Red Robin in Durham. She died just three weeks away from her 20th birthday.

WCHL’s Ran Northam was on the scene Friday afternoon and spoke to residents of the Hawthorne on the View Apartments. UNC staff member Dustin Bray returned home from work to find his apartment building inaccessible.

“I just got home and I guess there’s something going on here. I can’t get into my apartment right now,” said Bray.

Bray lives in the 1500 building where the incident took place.

He says he didn’t know anyone in the building but is concerned for his safety and if it is a murder, he says he will leave.

“I don’t know if I can do that or not, but I will break my lease if there’s something like that happening here. I’m moving out. I’m not going to deal with that. It’s right next to my apartment. I will leave.”

Christine Shia resides in the 1400 building which is directly across from where the incident occurred. She says she didn’t know the residents of the unit police were investigating but she says maintenance workers were there working on the unit recently.

Shia says she often saw people out and about, but didn’t know anyone by name.

“Everybody is pretty quiet over there- definitely students,” said Shia.

The apartment complex had not released any information to residents as of 4:45 p.m. Friday.

9/13/12 Update:

Faith’s homicide records have been sealed.

Chapel Hill police have ruled out a self-inflicted or accidental death in the case of UNC student Faith Danielle Hedgepeth — though they have yet to release new details about the homicide investigation.

On Monday, a Durham County Superior Courtjudge sealed several documents pertaining to the case at the request of Chapel Hill police.

Sgt. Josh Mecimore, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said the judge sealed multiple search warrants and the 911 call alerting police that Hedgepeth’s body had been found.

As of Tuesday, an autopsy had not been completed. But Mecimore said the preliminary autopsy results — which would likely determine a cause of death in the case — are not public under state law.

Mecimore said police requested the documents be sealed to protect the integrity of the investigation.

“There are a lot of details that only someone involved would know, outside of our investigators,” he said.

“It’s useful in interviewing folks to not have the general public know those details,” he said. “It could compromise our investigation.”

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said sealing several entire documents — especially 911 calls — is unusual in most cases.  “The law recognizes in very narrow circumstances that it’s OK to seal records,” LoMonte said. “That doesn’t justify a blanket sealing.”

Chapel Hill police have said they don’t believe the slaying was random or that the community faces a threat.

But as of Tuesday night, no arrests or suspects had been announced in the case. A cause of death also has not been released.

Chapel Hill police set up a tip line for people to provide information related to Hedgepeth’s death, and Mecimore said they are investigating leads .

LoMonte said police often benefit from releasing information about investigations.

“When you have an unsolved murder, there’s definitely a duty for either the police to either warn people or reassure people,” LoMonte said.

“You don’t want people to dangle in uncertainty.”

Raleigh attorney Hugh Stevens, of the firm Stevens Martin Vaughn and Tadych, which has represented The Daily Tar Heel in court, said sealing documents in cases like these is not unusual.

“We’ve seen it with some regularity in high profile homicide cases,” Stevens said.

“Generally speaking, the justification is that releasing information impedes investigation into finding the perpetrator.”

Chapel Hill police and Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall also had several documents — including search warrants and an autopsy report — sealed after the murder of Student Body President Eve Carson in 2008.

“Sometimes it’s very much justified depending on the facts, but you don’t know the facts because it’s sealed,” Stevens said.

Via Daily Tarheel

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Death penalty sought the murder of Shaniya Davis…

October 6, 2011 4 comments

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina prosecutors said Wednesday that they plan to seek the death penalty against the man charged with killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl, Shaniya Davis almost two years ago but not against the girl’s mother.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 30, has been charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of Shaniya Davis, whose body was found in a kudzu patch near the Lee-Harnett county line on Nov. 16, 2009, six days after her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, reported her missing from their Fayetteville home.

Authorities believe Antoinette Davis is complicit in her daughter’s death. Arrest warrants stated that she “did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude” and “did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.”

An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Antoinette Davis in July on charges of first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

She was arraigned Wednesday, and a judge set her bond on the murder charge at $2 million. Bonds totaling $1.5 million were set previously on the other charges.

McNeill, whom police have described as a friend of the family, is being held without bond at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Courtesy of WRAL

Will there ever be justice fo Shaniya Davis?  Personally, there will never be ENOUGH justice served for this precious child.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

NC (North Carolina) Stop Human Trafficking!

June 3, 2011 Comments off

NC Stop Human Trafficking is a statewide organization whose mission is to eradicate modern day slavery in all its forms. NC Stop Human Trafficking works to fight human trafficking on multiple levels following the P.A.V.E. model: Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services and Education/awareness.  NC Stop works through connecting and supporting individuals, community-based and faith-based organizations, non-governmental and governmental organizations. We focus on collaboration and communication between all groups to be efficient and effective. NC Stop strives to create opportunities for community members to become involved in the fight to stop human trafficking that are fulfilling and appropriate for each member.

We have active member groups in Wilmington, Greenville, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Burlington, Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville. We also have members who are students at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, UNC- Greensboro, and UNC-Charlotte. Email ncstophumantrafficking@gmail.com if you live near these areas and would like to meet with groups in your area and learn how to be involved.

Perceived factors leading to human trafficking:

- Non-identification of trafficking situations by law enforcement and community members

- Lack of awareness and education in the general public and direct service providers

- Vulnerability to exploitation due to isolation, abuse/neglect, low self esteem, poverty

- Victims have little to no knowledge of, or access to, alternatives and resources available

- Normalization of degradation and violence against women and children

- Normalization of exploitation and devaluation of human life

- Little deterrence on the demand side – lack of adequate consequences for offenders

- Lack of follow up programs, effective counseling and alternative placement for victims

- Broken foster care and social work system – runaway/throwaway and homeless youth are the highest risk group

- Lack of collaboration and communication between government, NGO, faith- and community-based groups

NC Stop Human Trafficking’s core areas of focus of Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services, and Education/Awareness (P.A.V.E. model) are designed to address these problems. We seek to work through existing organizations first through providing training on issues and program development, then plan to fill in gaps as needed. In this way we choose to collaborate and effect communication across all borders for the common purpose of ending human trafficking.

Prevention -

Protect and educate the vulnerable to reduce risk of exploitation

Work to reduce and eliminate contributing factors of isolation, abuse/neglect, low self-esteem and poverty through mentorships, capacity building, life-skills education, parenting training, etc.

Ensure access to resources and options in life.

Work to expose and reduce normalization of degradation, violence, exploitation and devaluation.

Education/Awareness focus will also help with prevention – education to at-risk population

Educate young people on what a healthy relationship looks like, how to spot exploitation, who to turn to for help, technology and bullying – how to cope, education for boys as well as girls

Address foster care/social work system

Advocacy-

Advocate for tougher penalties for traffickers and end users – Washington state law – cars impounded/ $5000 fine, john school

Support legislation that funds programs for victims – shelter, education, food, therapy, etc

Raise awareness that there is no such thing as a child prostitute – anyone under 18 is a victim – consent is off the table

Advocate for reduced penalties (or none – based on Sweden model) for prostitutes and FUNDED alternative programs in exchange for lesser sentences

Change prostitution laws in NC

Prostitution charges acquired before age 18 can be struck off record – NY state law

Victim Services -

Shelter – security

Health Care

Food

Clothing

Personal Hygiene

Therapy

Life coaching

Legal Services – including immigration processing if needed

Alternative life choices – training and support needed

Long term support system and reintegration into society – love and support – effective follow up and follow through

Education/Awareness -

Civic organizations and associations with a service mission

NGO/Non profits with a service mission – esp focusing on women and children’s health, safety, welfare, etc

Faith based organizations and churches

Schools

Anyone in contact with at risk youth – social workers, guidance counselors, school nurses, teachers existing mentorship programs such as Boys and Girls Club etc, Planned Parenthood, foster parents, adoption/fostering networks, malls, movie theaters, social media, etc -

Law Enforcement

Media

Celebrity

Legislators

General Public

You can get connected to the coalition through our Google group, where members can communicate with each other and share information, and also through our Facebook group.

  • Want to find out how you can be a part of North Carolina’s abolitionist movement? Email us at ncstophumantrafficking@gmail.com, tell us where you’re from, and we’ll see how we can get you hooked in!
  • Know something that you think should be shared on this blog? Email us!

RALEIGH – U.S. National Committee for UN Women – 2011 National Conference

When: Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time: 9:00am – 5:30pm / Reception Afterward

Location:Witherspoon Student Center, North Carolina State University, 2810 Cates Ave, Raleigh, NC

Link: http://wp.me/pikPQ-gG

Via NC Stop Human Trafficking 

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

 

 

 

Phylicia Barnes disappeared from Baltimore a month ago; police have no leads

February 1, 2011 1 comment

They did all the things that siblings do when they get together after having been months and miles apart. They went shopping for slippers and chatted about hairdos. They visited their grandmother for Christmas. They sat up late watching movies and eating cookies.

“You know, being sisters.”

Deena Barnes stresses that point in interviews, including her most recent on an Internet radio program, trying to dispel stories swirling about strange men and alcohol in her Northwest Baltimore apartment in the days before her younger half-sister, Phylicia, disappeared on the afternoon of Dec. 28.

More than a month after the 16-year-old from North Carolina went missing wearing her new white slipper-boots, Baltimore police say they have no idea what happened to the track star and honors student who had planned to graduate early from high school and attend Towson University.

As promising leads fizzle, and searches turn up nothing, the baffling case has taken a toll not only on Phylicia’s family but on police as well.

“This is a young girl who was well-liked in high school,” said the lead investigator, Detective Daniel T. Nicholson IV of the homicide unit. “She was doing what any young person would do, visiting her family . . . and she vanished from the face of the earth. That’s hard to believe.”

Nicholson, a 17-year police veteran who has two daughters, said he’s in daily contact with Phylicia’s father, who travels between Baltimore and his home in Atlanta, and with her mother in Monroe, N.C. His biggest fear, he says, is that “it’s not going to be a happy ending.”

Authorities have repeatedly questioned a dozen people who they said had access to Deena Barnes’s basement apartment, including Deena’s ex-boyfriend, the last known person to see Phylicia alive.

Police searched more than three dozen locations, put up billboards, sought national media attention, staffed a round-the-clock hotline and drained sewer water from an old well in a shed. Not a single credible clue or sighting has emerged, they said.

Detectives have said there is no history of family trouble that would cause the teen to run away, no history of drug or alcohol use or abuse, no emotional issues.

Even more troubling, they say, is that no one has reported seeing her since her sister’s ex-boyfriend reported her asleep on the living room couch. The ex-boyfriend now has an attorney; police said several of the people they’ve talked to have retained legal representation.

Phylicia Barnes’s relatives are torn. They want media attention but are reluctant to grant interviews.

Phylicia’s mother, Janice Sallis, has accused 27-year-old Deena of condoning alcohol use and allowing men to come and go from her apartment when Phylicia visited.

The missing girl’s father, Russell Barnes, has denounced Sallis.

The day Phylicia disappeared, Deena said she left for work and texted and talked with Phylicia several times during the morning. Another sister, Kelly Barnes, had planned to pick up Phylicia that afternoon.

Deena said in the radio interview that she spoke to her ex-boyfriend, who said Phylicia was sleeping on the couch when he left. Kelly said she repeatedly tried to contact Phylicia between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., but got no answer.

Deena returned to the apartment about 6 p.m., she told the radio interviewer, and found her sister missing. She called Kelly first, thinking the two were together, then called her father, other relatives, her ex-boyfriend and friends.

At 7:30 p.m., she called police.

Anyone with information on the disappearance of 16-year-old Phylicia Simone Barnes is urged to call Baltimore police at 855-223-0033. The toll-free number is staffed 24 hours a day. Phylicia is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue pea coat with a hood, a turquoise thermal shirt, blue jeans and white slipper boots and was carrying a caramel-colored purse. Police urge anyone who thinks they have seen Phylicia Barnes to call 911.

Respectfully submitted via The Washingtonpost.com; By Peter Hermann

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