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Crime News

Trio Charged With Kidnapping,Murder After Missing 20-Year-Old Woman’s Dead Body Believed Found In Charlotte

Mary Collins’s family said they were especially worried when she went missing March 28 because she has a cognitive disability. James Salerno, Kelly Lavery and Lavi Pham have been charged in her death.

By Daniel Egitto
Why Are Some Missing Adult Cases So Difficult?

The body of a missing 20-year-old North Carolina woman was believed found in Charlotte Saturday, leading to the arrests of three people.

Mary Collins was last seen on March 28 on the way to visit friends in North Davidson, Charlotte’s entertainment district, police told local TV station Fox-8 News.

She never came home.

Collins’s family reported her missing on March 30, according to the station. They said they were especially worried because she has a diagnosed cognitive disability.

Police followed a tip to a home in Charlotte’s suburbs on Saturday, according to PEOPLE. There, they discovered a dead body that they suspect is Collins, though medical examiners have not yet confirmed this.

On Sunday, police arrested James Salerno, 19, Lavi Pham, 21 and Kelly Lavery, 24 in connection with the death, according to arrest reports obtained by Oxygen.com.

Pham Lavery Salerno Pd

All three suspects have been charged with kidnapping and murder.

Salerno was also charged with driving while impaired and possession with intent to sell/deliver Schedule II drugs. Schedule II substances include drugs like opium, morphine and meth, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s website.

Salerno and Pham are being held on an $80,000 bond, while Lavery's bond has been set at $25,000.

Lavery and Salerno have been arrested before.

In 2017 – when he was 17 years old – Salerno was charged with armed robbery, according to arrest reports. He was arrested again in 2018 and charged with several counts of possessing marijuana.

Lavery was arrested in 2019 on charges of simple assault.