The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Homicide suspect taken into custody, victim identified as UMW student

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The suspect involved in a homicide in a downtown Fredericksburg home has been taken into custody by Fredericksburg police.

Anna Billingsley, associate vice president of University Relations, sent a statement at 4:41 p.m. to the University of Mary Washington students making them aware of the situation, in addition to multiple alert systems sent to community members across the city.

The suspect, Steven Vander Briel, was described as a white male between the ages of 29 and 30 and is approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall with brown hair, hazel eyes, unknown weight and last seen wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. Briel is a UMW alum and is a member of the Class of 2007. His connection with the victim is unknown.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. Briel was found on the 500 block of Riverside Drive and taken into custody for questioning.

At 3 p.m. on the 1900 block of Washington Ave., a phone call was made to the Fredericksburg Police Department for an unconscious female inside of the home. According to Natasha Bledsoe, spokeswoman for the Fredericksburg Police Department, a resident in the same house as the victim was instructed on how to perform CPR.

The victim was identified by the Fredericksburg Police as Grace Rebecca Mann, a 20-year-old UMW student who lived in Fairfax, Virginia.

Mann, a junior american studies major, was transported to Mary Washington Hospital and was pronounced dead in transport. The cause of death was identified as strangulation.

Mann was a highly involved member of the UMW community. She was a member of DivestUMW, PRISM, an appointee to the President’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, a Resident Assistant during her sophomore year, and a member of the Student Government Association Senate executive board as well as a member of Feminists United on Campus. In addition, Mann was a legal department intern with The Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization that works to achieve equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

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