Ashley Olsen, an American woman, was found dead in Italy. The 35-year-old artist was reportedly discovered inside her Florence apartment. Olsen was in the nude with strangulation marks on her neck. No signs of forced entry were reportedly evident at the residence.
The American woman found dead in Italy is being considered a homicide victim, but an official cause of death will not become available until after an autopsy has been completed.
— The Australian (@australian) January 11, 2016
Ashley Olsen’s father works at the Florence Art School Bianca Cappello, CNN reports. He became worried when he had not heard from his daughter and asked her landlord to go check on her. Olsen’s boyfriend, also an artist, found her body on Saturday.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 11, 2016
Olsen is a native of Summer Haven, Florida, the Florida Times-Union reports. Breaking news reports indicate that Ashely may have had a stalker, and her body had been “bruised and scratched.” However, no obvious signs of sexual assault were present.
“The police haven’t really said anything yet. My son is waiting for the police to share more,” said Olsen’s grandmother, Ann Olsen.
— la Repubblica (@repubblicait) January 11, 2016
Although the Italian artist dating Olsen was questioned by Italian police, the detectives said they currently do not have a suspect in the murder of the American woman. Olsen was known to area artists and residents throughout the neighborhood as a nice and friendly woman who often walked around town with her beloved beagle dog, Scout. Flowers quickly began to adorn her doorstep after news of the gruesome murder spread.
“What happened in Florence is getting the maximum attention to find out what it’s all about,” said Alessandro Pansa, Italy’s police chief.
Olsen posted several photos to Instagram in the past several months that indicate she may have had a stalker, Fox News reports. One picture, posted to the social media platform about 12 weeks ago, appears to have been taken from behind the American woman as she walked her dog.
The caption to the image read, “I have a #stalker #stalkeralert #creeperintheback #creeperpic.”
A second photo shared about nine weeks ago was taken when Ashley was at an open-air market with a caption that read, “#f–koff #creeper.”
Friends of Ashley Olsen who spoke with members of the Associated Press remembered the American artist as a kind and beautiful woman. They also expressed concern that the murder investigation would not be a repeat of the controversial and high-profile case of a murdered British student Meredith Kercher.
Meredith Kercher was studying in the city of Perugia when she was found murdered in 2007. Her American roommate, Amanda Knox, and her boyfriend were convicted of murder, acquitted of the crime, convicted again, and ultimately released after an appeal in 2014. Another individual, a man, has since been convicted of the Meredith Kercher murder and is serving a 16-year prison sentence for the crime.
Ashley Olsen’s Facebook page is filled with images of she and her dog Scout. She reportedly enjoyed sitting with her beagle on the steps of the Santo Spirito church and shared photos of their visits to the spot.
According to Alexandra Lawrence, who moved from the United States to Florence 17 years ago, the city has attracted numerous artists and expats who have become a rather close-knit group. Lawrence teaches art history to American students who come to the Italian city on study abroad programs and often gives tours to newcomers.
“I think maybe because it’s such a small city, but because there are so many expats, we all eventually come across each other and run in similar circles,” Lawrence added. “We’ve been through this terribly unresolved mystery with Amanda Knox. You never want it to get to that point.”
[Photo by Maurizio Degl’Innocenti/ANSA via AP]