Italian Police Probe Death of US Woman

VOA News

Police in Florence, Italy, are probing the apparent murder of a 35-year-old American expatriate who was found dead in her downtown apartment with bruises and scratches to her neck.

The Italian news agency ANSA said police on Monday were awaiting the results of an autopsy on the body of Ashley Olsen and reviewing security video for clues to her death. The report says her 43-year-old Florentine boyfriend and several other friends have been questioned.

Italian media say the corpse was found naked with signs of strangulation, but say there were no immediate signs of a struggle or of forced entry into Olsen’s apartment. The reports say she was last seen early Friday in a late-night bar that police have closed down several times in the past for drug-related activity.

Olsen is described as an artist and an event organizer who moved to the Tuscan city to be near her father, who is an art teacher.

ANSA says members of the city’s American expat community have voiced fears that the Olsen death will turn into a saga similar to the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.

After years of media attention and legal proceedings, American expat Amanda Knox, Kercher’s former roommate, and her Italian ex-boyfriend were cleared of that murder by Italy’s Supreme Court.

An Ivorian man is serving a 16-year prison term for Kercher’s murder.