The four-day search for missing U.S. student Beau Solomon has come to a tragic end as his body has been pulled from the Tiber River in Rome, according to CBS News.
The 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student was found on Monday after not being seen since Friday morning. Police found the missing U.S. student’s body in the river by the Guglielmo Marconi bridge, around three miles down river from the area in which he was socializing.
Italian police spokeswoman Lucia Muscari said Solomon was last seen at about 1 a.m. local time at a bar in Piazza Trilussa, in Rome’s popular Trastevere neighborhood, on July 1. Italian police are investigating the American’s disappearance, checking surveillance cameras in the area, speaking with potential witnesses who were at the bar, and his fellow students and staff at John Cabot University.
Police have not ruled out a suspicious cause of death and are treating the death as foul play. Italian news agency ANSA said two people claimed to have seen a man throw a person into the Tiber river the night Solomon disappeared and police are following up on this lead. The forensics squad are at the riverside where it is likely that Beau Solomon had been for four days and an autopsy will likely be performed on Tuesday. It is not clear yet whether Solomon was killed or not but due to suspicious transactions on Solomon’s credit card, a homicide investigation has been opened.
Investigators are looking into suspicious transactions on Solomon’s credit card following his disappearance in the early hours of Friday morning. The missing U.S. student’s parents, Jodi and Nick Solomon, received a bank alert at around 4 a.m on Friday, informing them of a transaction of $2.23. Much larger charges quickly followed including purchasing of clothing and a transaction in Milan, according to The Guardian. The Solomons then tried to call their son but were unable to get through to him.
Beau Solomon was on exchange when the tragic death occurred, and he had only landed in Rome on Thursday night. He was participating in an exchange program with John Cabot University and did not show up for registration on Friday morning which was when his friends raised the alarm. The school released a statement about the U.S. student’s death.
“We express our most heartfelt condolences to the Solomon family and to all those who loved Beau.”
An earlier statement from the university said it was “alerted by his roommate, who reported that he had lost contact with Beau around 1 a.m…. and was worried when he did not see Beau at orientation.”
Beau’s friends told the police that he did not appear drunk when they last saw him, and they thought that he had simply walked the three miles home when they could not find him at the end of the night. It was only Beau’s second night in Rome, and his parents said they only warned him about pick-pockets and never imagined something like this would happen to their son.
“The only doubts we had were pick pocketing,” his father said.
The family, who live in the village of Spring Green, about 40 miles west of Madison, released a statement and said Solomon had just completed his first year as a personal finance major at UW-Madison.
“He’s a social butterfly,” Solomon’s brother Jake said. “He’s loved by everyone, and he’s the glue that keeps our family together…He’s an amazing kid.”
Jake Solomon went on to describe his brother as an athlete who successfully battled cancer for years as a child. He said his parents, Nick and Jodi Solomon, had now traveled to Rome.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the missing U.S. student had completed his first year as a personal finance major, also issued a statement about his death.
“All of us at UW-Madison are greatly saddened by this loss. Beau was a bright and caring young man who lived the Wisconsin Idea through his work at Badger Boys State and his desire to travel and experience other cultures. Our hearts go out to Beau’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
The death of the missing U.S. student is not the first time that Americans have run into trouble in Rome. John Durkin, 21, was found dead in a train tunnel in February 2014. He had gone missing two days earlier after going out with friends in Campo de’ Fiori, a nightlife hot spot in the center of the city.
In 2012, another U.S. student was allegedly stabbed by his roommate, a fellow student at John Cabot University, after what police said was a night of alcohol and possible drug use. The stabbed student survived.
Also in recent years, a young American man apparently fell off a low wall, where many people sit at night time, and landed several meters below on the cement banks of the Tiber River near the Trastevere neighborhood.
Police have said UW-Madison was working with John Cabot University and American and Italian authorities to assist Beau’s family and support the investigation.
[Photo by Andrew Medichini/AP]