World / Crime & Legal

U.S. expat found slain in Florence flat strangled possibly by rope, autopsy finds; boyfriend spat reported

AP

An autopsy has determined that an American woman whose naked body was found last week in her Florence apartment was strangled with an object such as a rope, an Italian prosecutor said Tuesday.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo cautioned that more lab results are needed to pinpoint the time of Ashley Olsen’s death.

The 35-year-old had been living in Florence for about three years. Autopsy findings so far indicate that she died in roughly a 36-hour-period between the morning of Friday and the early afternoon of Saturday. The corpse, with bruises and scratches on the neck, was discovered after her Italian boyfriend expressed alarm after he hadn’t heard from her in a few days and asked the landlady to open the door.

Olsen, originally from Florida, was last seen by friends early Friday at a popular Florence nightclub.

It could be weeks before results of analyses of body tissue and fluid are ready to narrow the time-frame when she was strangled, Creazzo said.

Laboratory results will also help determine whether Olsen had been sexually assaulted, Creazzo said, adding that there were no external signs of sexual attack.

Creazzo said at this point investigators have no suspects.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted the boyfriend as saying the couple had quarreled over a minor matter three days before her corpse was found, and that he tried to call her but that Olsen didn’t answer her phone.

It was unclear when the body might be released for burial, as prosecutors won’t give the go-ahead until they are sure more forensic medical testing isn’t needed for the coroner’s report.

Olsen’s father teaches in Florence, and her social circles included the art community in the Tuscan capital, renowned for its Renaissance architecture and masterpiece-rich museums and churches.