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Lauren Mann remembered for love of music and culture

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Photo submitted Former Paonia resident Lauren Mann is being remembered for her love of the outdoors, music and her thirst about the cultures of the world. She was found dead last week in her apartment in Vienna, Austria.

Lauren Mann's Facebook page continues to receive tributes and remembrances after the 25-year-old former Paonia resident was found dead in her apartment in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Officials in Vienna have determined Mann died of suffocation. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.

Mann is the daughter of Shelly Hyde of Grand Junction and Bill Mann of Paonia. Mann said the family expects it will be some time before they know how she died, and that he trusts officials to do a good job with the investigation. As of Tuesday morning, no arrests had been made.

Lauren Mann graduated from the University of Colorado School of Music in Boulder in 2012 with a degree in piano performance and a minor in French, said Mann.

Mann described his daughter as having lived fully during her short life. "She had a very loving heart," said Mann. She was a musician, a published writer and world traveler who spoke at least five languages. Mann's yearning for culture led her to numerous countries, and ultimately to Vienna. Bill Mann made a trip to Vienna, where she shared her love of the culture by touring the city through its public transportation system. They also traveled to other countries, including Czechoslovakia. The people were very friendly, said Mann, who called Vienna "a safe place to live."

Mann was working as an au pair, or nanny, in Vienna while studying German. "She loved working in Vienna," said Mann, and was very close with the couple's son. She wanted to further her language skills in order to fulfill a dream of finding and translating previously undiscovered German transcripts.

Growing up, Lauren Mann studied piano under Catie Mientka, whom Bill Mann said was always finding an audience for whom she could perform. Mientka was "very influential on her life. She did so much for my daughter," said Mann.

Through music and travel, Lauren befriended people from all over the world, many of whom she met while studying piano at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, said Mann.

David King, a 2008 graduate of Paonia High School and a violinist now living in Denver, took piano lessons and performed with Mann when they were kids. "I just remember she was one of those people with a kind heart," said King. She had a great personality and was "very much into piano."

King and Mann were long-time Facebook friends. He said he knew something was wrong when he read a Jan. 25 post from Mann's employer stating she hadn't shown up for work. "Did anyone see her today? ... and Lauren, please give us a call when you see this."

King used three adjectives to describe Mann: "Music, kindness, and happiness, from what I knew of her." King added that he wants her case to be solved. "I just hope they figure out what happened," he said.

Bill Mann said his daughter also loved the outdoors and was an expert skier and former ski racer. She loved to train at Powderhorn. Their last outdoor trip together, he said, they set out on a five-day hike, but took only three days because she was in such good physical condition.

Mann said the family has no immediate plans for a service. Because Lauren traveled the world and made friends wherever she went, he said, "Where would we hold it?"

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