West African Man Arrested in Connection with Death of American Nanny, 25, Who Was Found Suffocated in Austria
Police in Austria say they found the unidentified suspect by tracking his cell phone
A West African man has been arrested in Switzerland in connection with the death of a 25-year-old American nanny found dead in her Austria apartment last month.
The 23-year-old man Gambia – a small West African country surrounded by Senegal – was arrested last week at a Swiss refugee center in the town of Kreuzlingen. He is accused of suffocating Lauren Mann, Nina Bussek, a spokeswoman for the Austrian state prosecutor, tells PEOPLE. His name has not been publicly released.
Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper reports that the suspect’s DNA was found at the crime scene and officials found him by tracking his cell phone to Switzerland.
The suspect is resisting extradition back to Austria, according to the newspaper. It is unknown what plea the suspect has entered or whether he has legal representation.
Mann, who was from Colorado, was found dead in her Vienna apartment on Jan. 26, authorities tell PEOPLE.
Her employer and concerned friends described her as “someone you could count on” and said she was “very intelligent and very responsible.”
Autopsy results “indicate death by suffocation from unknown causes,” Vienna police spokesman Thomas Kieblinger tells PEOPLE.
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Mann had been in Vienna for about three years and lived in an apartment in the Austrian capital’s 4th district.
Mann’s employers reported her missing on Jan. 25 when she never showed up to pick up the kindergarten boy she was caring for.
“The family she was working for described her as someone you could count on and when she didn’t turn up at the school, they became worried and notified the police,” authorities tell PEOPLE.
Because of her age, Austrian law allows for officers to investigate immediately. Officers were sent to check her apartment on Monday and reportedly found her apartment locked with no evidence of a crime scene.
They knocked on the door, but after no one answered they returned to the station and began filing a follow-up report.
The next day, officers requested the assistance of a local EMT unit.
When no one answered the front door, authorities knocked it down. They discovered Mann’s partially clothed body on a mattress surrounded by a large amount of blood inside the one-room apartment.
Mann’s body was sent to a toxicologist, however, the exam could take up to two weeks.
“We are looking to see whether she took or was given drugs of course,” Kieblinger says, “along with speaking to all her social contacts, friends and her schoolmates as well as the little boy she cared for in kindergarten.”