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Mom of murdered woman hoping story part of change, push to end crime in Charlotte

Mary Collins, 20, was brutally murdered in 2020.
Mary Collins was found dead near her NoDa apartment two years ago.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 11:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Two years after the brutal murder of her daughter, Kasei Delpezzo is sharing her story to help other families.

“My faith in God gets me through,” she said. “Without my faith in God, there is no way I would be able to wake up and get through another day.”

Her daughter, Mary Collins, was just 20 years old when she was found murdered at an apartment in NoDa in April 2020. This was just days after she was reported missing.

Investigators say Collins’ body was found wrapped in several layers of duct tape in trash bags, hidden inside a mattress.

“My daughter was one of the sweetest souls you’d ever meet she was kind, forgiving, loving, trusting, somewhat sheltered,” Delpezzo said.

Family members say Collins, who had a disability, was lured to the apartment.

Four people have been charged in connection to her murder: America Diehl, 18, James Salerno, 20, Lavi Pham, 21, and Kelly Lavery, 24. On Thursday, Salerno pleaded not guilty in court to his charges of murder and concealing a death.

Delpezzo, is now pushing for change in Charlotte.

“I wish we as a city and community could come together to work on the issues that are related because everything is interconnected,” she said.

She says the crime has to stop and hopes her story can help be part of the change.

Delpezzo believes the first step is voting and making sure criminals stay behind bars.

She says children also need positive influences such as youth centers in neighborhoods across the city.

“I want to see some people on office who have some experience with some real struggles because you can’t sit in office and come up with solutions to problems you’ve never experienced,” Delpezzo said. “You know, like people watching right now until your child has been brutally murdered you don’t know what that feels like.”

She also has a message for youth: committing a crime is not worth it.

“That’s my message to the young people,” Delpezzo said. “Nobody wins. Here I am, I don’t get my daughter back. And then there’s another set of parents over there who are waiting to find out you know, their child is going away for whatever amount of time. Nobody wins with murder. You know, it’s it’s just senseless.”

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