‘Disheartening’: Family agonizes over wait for justice after woman’s murder

CHARLOTTE — There has not been much new information in a case after a missing woman’s body was found in April 2020 adding to family members’ grief.

Several suspects were charged with the murder of Mary Collins.

Collins would have turned 23 on July 6.

“We should be celebrating with her, for her, and not in memory of her,” a sibling wrote in a letter. “So that’s really hard for us.”

Police found Collins body stuffed in a mattress in a NoDa apartment.

Family members said she was stabbed more than 130 times.

“I think that it was jealousy and it was a thrill kill and it was an easy target,” said Collins’ aunt, Kara Williams.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police charged James Salerno, Lavi Pham and Kelly Lavry with murder, kidnapping and concealing a body.

America Diehl was charged with accessory after the fact.

“I 100% think that they planned it, and they carried it out,” Williams said.

Pham and Lavery, who investigators believe lured Collins to the apartment, have not been officially arraigned. The arraignment was supposed to be earlier this month.

“We have family that has to make plans to take off work and fly down to North Carolina,” Williams said. “And for them to be able to reschedule last minute on us, is nothing short of disheartening and infuriating.”

The arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

The wheels of justice have been slow to turn due to courthouse backlogs and suspects granted numerous continuances.

Williams said it’s left her family in a state of crippling grief.

“There’s nothing you can do except hold all of this anger and ball of the feelings and emotions inside of you,” she said. “And all we have now is fighting for justice for Mary because she deserves it.”

Salerno is the only suspect who has been arraigned. He pleaded not guilty to his charges.

(Watch the video below: Boone residents react to police discovering missing SC woman’s body)