Vanessa Leon is southern-raised and a proud alumnus of UNC Chapel Hill, but her Costa Rican roots and love for her culture are still strong.

Vanessa has many family members living in the Charlotte area and is lucky to report on the city and community that she calls home. She’s most inspired by the stories of her neighbors and the good-natured folks she encounters who help others without seeking praise.

When asked about the most meaningful story she’s ever covered, Vanessa recalls Landon Melton, a 3-year-old boy from Morganton who was found dead, frozen outside in the cold. Vanessa followed the story until the mother was charged, sentenced (it was ruled accidental), and ultimately completed her sentencing. The story impacted Vanessa so deeply that she keeps up with the family to this day.

Vanessa has received two Emmy nominations and was awarded MMJ of the year in 2020 and 2021 and Best Use of Technology in 2021 by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.

She lives in Iron Station with her husband, two daughters, and fur baby "Waffles." When she’s off the clock, you can find her dining at one of Hickory’s many mom-and-pop restaurants, teaching Zumba, or exploring the North Carolina mountains. Her favorites? Blowing Rock and Asheville.

Find Vanessa on Facebook at Vanessa Leon, Twitter @VanessaLeonTV, or email her at