Ashley Olsen’s Killer Confesses: Cheik Tidiane Diaw Arrested, Claims Death Was Accident

After a long night of interrogation, an illegal Senegalese immigrant has reportedly confessed to killing American artist Ashley Olsen in Florence, Italy.

The 27-year-old man, indentified as Cheik Tidiane Diaw (though media reports disagree on which is his surname), confessed to Florence police that he accidentally killed Ashley after consensual sex, NBC News reported.

He has been charged with murder, aggravated by cruelty, and is currently sitting in a Florence prison, Reuters added. Although he has “substantially admitted” to the circumstances of Olsen’s death, as reconstructed by the city’s prosecutor according to crime scene evidence, the investigation into the death of Olsen, 35, will continue to tie up loose ends.

Police were quick to dispel rumors, circulating in Italian media since Ashley’s death became international news, that she was killed during a “sex game gone wrong” or erotic asphyxiation, the Local noted. These rumors are a possible reference to the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher, who was rumored to have been killed in that manner by American Amanda Knox and boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia.

Olsen’s death was reported on Saturday, days after her boyfriend, Federico Fiorentini, had last seen or heard from her. The pair had had an argument, and concerned for her safety, he went to her apartment in Florence’s Santo Spirito neighborhood to check on her. There, he asked the landlady to open her door, the Guardian reported.

Ashley was found lying naked on her bed, dead, with scratches on her neck. An autopsy found that Olsen had been strangled with a cord or rope and suffered two fractures to her skull, which would’ve proven fatal. Police found no signs of forced entry in her apartment, no signs of a struggle with her attacker, and tests revealed she’d had sex before her death but hadn’t been sexually assaulted.

Now, police have recreated a chain of events that they believe implicates Tidiane in her death.

It appears as though Ashley and Tidiane met at a local bar, 15 minutes from her home, late Thursday or early Friday. Video surveillance shows that the pair left the Monte Carla nightclub and then entered her house together. Evidence suggests the pair had consensual sex, possibly under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Pending toxicology reports will establish whether either of them had been taking drugs at the time of Ashley’s death.

Olsen’s skull fractures may suggest that, following sex, the pair had a fight. The suspect suggested this possibility, explaining that the row began after she asked him to leave.

“Then he probably slammed [Olsen’s] head against something twice fracturing skill and then strangled her,” said Florence Prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo.

The suspected killer, however, claims he didn’t mean to kill Ashley but pushed her and she fell, hitting her head. The strangle marks were caused by his attempts to lift her up, he claimed. Video surveillance then shows the young man leaving Ashley’s house.

At the very least, “decisive evidence” puts Tidiane in Olsen’s apartment. His DNA was found on a condom and cigarette butt found on the scene, and that DNA matched some found under Ashley’s fingernails. His motive is still not known, and police have declined to speculate on one.

So far, all that is known about the suspect is that he arrived in Italy illegally a few months ago to be with his brother, who had lived in the country for a while.

The Monte Carla nightclub has a seedy reputation and, in recent years, has been temporarily closed down several times due to is suspected role in drug dealing.

Olsen had been living in Florence, where she’d been accepted into the local arts community — now mourning her death — for the past few years. She worked in the fashion industry and had moved to the city to be with her father, Walter Olsen, who teaches there. He described Ashley as “a beautiful and creative young woman with a happy, exuberant and generous soul.”

[Photo By Maurizio Degl’Innocenti/AP]