Crime scene investigators scour slain U.S. expat woman’s Florence flat; video footage scrutinized


Crime scene investigators returned Wednesday to the Florence apartment where a 35-year-old American woman was found strangled over the weekend, searching for clues to identify her killer.

Ashley Olsen was found nude on her bed in her rented apartment on Saturday after her boyfriend had the owner open the door, alarmed that the young woman had failed to respond to phone calls. The body had bruises and scratches on the neck, and an autopsy determined she had been strangled with a cord or a rope.

Authorities have not identified a suspect. Italian media reports Wednesday indicated that investigators are narrowing in on a suspect, using video surveillance cameras along the route from the nightclub where she was last seen early Friday to her home, while also searching for clues in the apartment.

The lead prosecutor declined comment on the case Wednesday, and police officials say they are not authorized to speak to the press during the investigation.

Olsen, originally from Summer Haven, Florida, had been living in Florence for three years, an active member of the expatriate community and art scene. She had moved to Italy to join her father, Walter Olsen, who teaches in the Renaissance art city.

Walter Olsen issued a statement late Tuesday expressing the family’s grief and confidence that the killer would be found.

“We are devastated that our precious Ashley has passed away resulting from a horrible and senseless crime,” he wrote.

He described his daughter as “a beautiful and creative young woman, with a happy, exuberant and generous soul,” adding: “We are heartbroken she was taken from us.”

He asked that the family be left to grieve in peace and expressed “faith that the perpetrator will be found and sentenced.”