INDIANAPOLIS — Saturday marks six months since 19-year-old Marysa Collins was murdered while sitting in her car on the northeast side of Indianapolis.
Her case is one of 134 unsolved 2020 homicides in Indianapolis, which saw a record-breaking 245 last year.
Marysa celebrated her birthday just nine days before she was shot and killed. Her mother, Amber Shumpert, said she is still in disbelief of the nightmare their family is living with every day.
“I still to this day — just I don’t believe it. I feel like it’s still just a dream,” said Shumpert. “It’s hard. Every day is different. Some days there’s a lot of tears. Some days aren’t.
“I think as time goes on it’s gotten worse because it’s just not fair.”
Marysa’s father, Lance Collins, said he still struggles to believe that she is gone, and he won’t receive a phone call, text or even a Facebook notification from his daughter.
“It’s so unreal. It’s been six months, and it still feels like yesterday almost,” he said. “If you put it in a timeframe, it’s crazy. Six months — half a year. I mean, you can do a lot in that time, but it still feels like yesterday we were right here and finding out.”
Lance said one of the hardest realities to process is that he will never have the chance to make another memory with his daughter.
“We’re living off pictures in our brain. It’s rough,” he said.
Marysa’s parents agree that the heartache of losing their daughter has amplified with time, knowing she never had the chance to experience so many things she hoped and dreamed of doing, but also coping with the fact no arrest has been made in her death.
“Marysa had a really good heart,” said Shumpert. “Her heart was very pure. She was a typical 19-year-old. She knew everything. She had a smart mouth sometimes, but she stayed out of trouble.”
According to Shumpert, Marysa aspired to become a neonatal registered nurse.
“She wanted to work with the babies. That was just, like, her dream,” she said.
“She in high school took American Sign Language and was pretty fluent in it,” said Shumpert.
She hoped to some day have one child on her own, and to also adopt a child who is hearing impaired.
“She said they don’t get chosen as often, and I thought that was amazing,” Shumpert said after hearing this.
As family hangs on to happy memories of Marysa, they said it is time someone comes forward with information that leads an arrest in her case.
“To people who have information, which there are some, just look at my social media. Look into my eyes,” said Shumpert. “I am devastated. I am shattered. I have to pretend that I’m okay because I have other children, he [Marysa’s dad] has other children. We have to pretend that we’re okay, but we’re not.”
Shumpert believes her daughter was killed by a longtime friend, for reasons which still remain unclear. She said she is working to find it in her heart to forgive but is devastated he is still walking free while Marysa no longer has that opportunity.
“I don’t plan on giving up. I may get quiet sometimes, but I’m never giving up,” she said.
She will continue to fight for justice in her daughter’s name and in the name of murder victims who no longer have a voice.
“You see when you’re in this situation how it affects you, and you see it, and we’re so immune to it every day,” said Collins. “Just speak up. Talk about it.”
Lt. Shane Foley, a public information officer with IMPD, said he cannot stress enough the importance of community cooperation in providing information that may lead to an arrest and successful prosecution of violent offenders.
“There’s often times we have an idea of who committed a crime or detectives, we pretty much know who committed a crime, but ultimately we need the evidence,” he explained. “The evidence could be physical evidence or it could be witness testimony.”
Foley said this year, the department has reported great success in identifying suspects in homicides and aggravated assaults through tips received from the community.
He said even one unsolved murder is too much, and detectives are working to solve as many as possible to bring justice to more families.
During a record year of homicides in Indianapolis, Marysa’s death was the 220th of the year. Her parents want one thing to be clear: she — and all other victims — are much more than just a statistic.
“It’s easy to talk about the numbers of how many unsolved homicides there were, but to every family that’s their loved one. That’s their brother, that’s their sister, that’s a mom, that’s a dad, that’s a child,” Foley said.
Foley said, with time, unsolved cases can become a bit more difficult, and that’s why he hopes if anyone has information on this case, or any others, that they will share that.
“2020 is not a long time ago. It’s not too late. It’s never too late for somebody who witnessed a crime to come forward,” he said. “We want to re-emphasize that we’ve had tremendous success, and we want to see justice for all of those families from 2020, from 2019, from any unsolved homicide.”
As always, anyone with information on this homicide or any others is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS, or you can contact IMPD homicide detectives directly at 317-327-3811.