Swiss police have arrested a man suspected of murdering an American woman who worked as a nanny in Vienna, Austria.
The Austrian tabloid Kronen Zeitung reported that the suspect, identified only as 24-year-old Abdou I., was arrested Thursday at an asylum center in northeastern Switzerland, just over the Austrian border. The paper said Abdou was an asylum seeker originally from Gambia, in Africa. Some other reports gave the suspect’s age as 23.
The suspect was arrested nine days after Vienna police found the body of 25-year-old Colorado native Lauren Mann in her Vienna apartment. Mann was found lying face-down on a mattress with traces of her blood on the floor. An autopsy gave suffocation as the cause of Mann’s death.
The arrest also came nearly 4 weeks after a Senegalese refugee was booked for the murder of an American woman in Florence, Italy. Ashley Olsen’s body was discovered strangled to death in her apartment in early January.
Kronen Zeitung reported that Abdou I.’s DNA was found at the crime scene and authorities tracked his cell phone to the Swiss refugee center where he was ultimately arrested.
The paper had previously reported that Abdou I. had migrated to Italy in 2012 and had later requested asylum in Germany. However, his application was denied and he was threatened with deportation due to a series of criminal offenses, including a 2014 conviction for sexual abuse of minors.
Kronen Zeitung reported that friends and classmates of Mann told the paper that she often went to train stations and shelters to help distribute food and blankets to asylum-seekers, and wanted to help the suspect. The report said that though she did not know of his criminal history, she knew he faced deportation back to Africa.
The suspect has denied an initial request to be extradited to Austria, which means authorities there must submit an official extradition request under European Union guidelines within 18 days.
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