A man has been arrested in connection with the death of Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old American artist living in Florence, the city’s chief prosecutor told reporters Thursday.
The suspect, Cheikh Tidiane Diaw, was arrested at his home Wednesday night, chief prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo announced at a press conference.
DNA evidence linked to the suspect was found in a condom and on a cigarette at Olsen’s house, where Diaw’s fingerprints were also found, Creazzo said. Diaw had taken Olsen’s phone and put his SIM card in it, and was using the device when he was arrested, the prosecutor said.
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Friends of an American woman found brutally murdered in her rented Florence apartment have told police she stayed behind at a nightclub when they left, investigators said Monday.
As reported by the Daily Mail, coroners began an autopsy on Ashley Olsen’s body Monday afternoon. First results, including time and cause of death, could come as soon as Tuesday.
Police based in Florence’s prosecutors’ offices stressed that after questioning the 35-year-old woman’s boyfriend, who is an Italian artist in the city, as well as friends of Olsen they haven’t put anyone under investigation.
The investigators, who declined to be identified because the probe is still ongoing, said the woman’s friends told them they were together with Olsen at a Florence nightspot late Thursday. According to their account, the friends decided to leave but Olsen remained there.
Ashley Olsen was discovered on Saturday afternoonafter the boyfriend told the apartment’s owner he was worried because he hadn’t heard from her and they went together to open the apartment. Police have said the victim’s neck had bruises and scratches, indications of possible strangulation.
Investigators have said there were no signs of a break-in, indicating that Olsen likely knew her killer
Apparently, the woman found dead in her Florence apartment was a different Ashley Olsen than the well known twin actress. @Conservative_VW
— Powerwave20 (@Powerwave20) January 11, 2016
Olsen’s beagle, Scout, a frequent companion of the woman on strolls through Florence’s historic center, was found unharmed in the apartment
In at least two Instagram posts from Italy on her account, Olsen uses the hashtag “#creeper,” although it’s not clear to what she is referring to exactly.
She had lived in Florence for some three years and was known among the Renaissance art city’s close-knit expatriate community.
Her father, Walter Olsen, who teaches in Florence and is known in the design field, laid a floral bouquet and knelt for a few minutes in front of the apartment building, the Italian news agency ANSA said. He was accompanied by police and U.S. Consulate personnel, and didn’t enter his daughter’s apartment, which is officially under judicial seal because of the investigation, the report said.
Some 72 hours’ worth of video from two surveillance cameras in the street near Olsen’s home were being scrutinized by police in hopes of catching a glimpse of whoever killed her arriving or leaving the small apartment building.
The victim’s beloved dog, Scout, was present when she was murdered and was found in great distress, surrounded by his own urine and feces, when the body was discovered.
Daily Mail Online reports that the dog is being cared for by the victim’s family.
There were also claims that she may have stayed behind in a night club when friends left.
According to the Telegraph, the club where friends last saw Olsen is a popular stop on Florence’s night scene. It has been temporarily closed more than once in recent years for problems with the law, including alleged sale of cocaine and overcrowding.
With its fine museums and art-rich churches, Florence is a popular destination for Italian and foreign tourists, and draws many art students from around the world.
“Florence is safe,” the city’s police chief, Raffaele Micillo, was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying on Monday. Olsen’s death is “a very grave occurrence and we are giving it utmost attention and we are working in sync with the prosecutors’ office, but it could have happened in any city,” Micillo said.
Olsen’s Facebook page is full of photos of her and Scout, including on the steps of the Santo Spirito church on the lovely piazza of the same name that is the heart of the ‘Oltrarno’ neighborhood of the Tuscan city.
‘She always with her dog, always sitting on steps of Santo Spirito with friends,’ Jupe said in a phone interview.
The case is already being compared to the high-profile murder case of Amanda Knox, who was accused — and then eventually acquitted — of killing British student Meredith Kercher.
That case dragged on for more than four years. This time, the police have vowed to pull out all the stops.