Cause of death released for murdered Mary Washington student

WASHINGTON — Friends and family members on Tuesday remembered Grace Mann, 20, a University of Mary Washington junior who was murdered.

“This is simply a nightmare,” Melissa Mann, the victim’s mother said during the funeral service.

“It is with profound sadness and disbelief that we are here today,” Mann told those attending the service at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia.

“We are completely overwhelmed by your love,” she said.

Grace Mann was found unconscious Friday in her home that she shared with three roommates. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

One of her roommates, Steven Vander Briel, has been arrested and charged with murder and abduction.

According to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office, the cause of death was “asphyxia due to strangulation.”

Police in Fredericksburg, Virginia are still investigating a possible motive.

Meanwhile, Briel made his initial court appearance in Fredericksburg General District Court Tuesday morning. He appeared via video but did not enter a plea.

His next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is set for 11:30 a.m. May 19.

A public defender is representing him

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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