A 24-year-old Gambian ‘asylum seeker’ has been arrested for the murder of an American Au Pair in Austria.
American Lauren M. had worked in Vienna, Austria for going on 3 years. The au pair job allowed her to pay for her studies and live in the city.
Her dead body was found in her one bedroom apartment in Vienna’s 4th district on the evening of Tuesday January 26 after she had not come in to work that day or contacted any of her friends. Police found her corpse face down in the bedroom of her home.
Krone says initial reports were unclear as to the cause of Lauren’s death but an autopsy later identified that she had been suffocated and so the case was determined to be a homicide.
The hunt for a suspect was helped drastically when police were able to find DNA at the scene which belonged to an asylum seeker already in their database. The 24-year-old Gambian Abdou I. was no stranger to police. In fact the asylum seeker had already been involved on the wrong side of the law and had been accused of sexual misconduct with minors back in 2014.
According to authorities, the Gambian was living at Caritas refugee centre in Erdberg and was scheduled to be deported back to his home country in Africa. There was already a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the murder and it is through that Lauren M. had hidden him in her small one bedroom home so that he could escape deportation.
Abdou I. was captured by police in an asylum centre in Switzerland. Police used the GPS location of photos he posted online to find his exact location. He is said to have hidden among fellow migrants following the murder before making his way to Bern where he was eventually caught.
Lauren M’s actions were possibly inspired by the Refugees Welcome founders Jonas Kakoschke and Mareike Geiling who set up their group as a sort of migrant “airbnb” for migrants to live in their homes and for other volunteers to do the same.
The case of Lauren M. also bears a striking similarity to another American woman who was murdered by a different African asylum seeker in Italy. Ashley Olsen, 35, was killed by a Senegalese migrant only hours after meeting him at a local nightclub. The method of murder was exactly the same as Lauren, with Ashley from Florida being strangled to death by her assailant.