***Scroll down for updates***
“Live free or die.” Those are the words on the Instagram bio of 35-year-old Ashley Ann Olsen, an American artist who was found dead in her Florence, Italy apartment over the weekend.
The Italian news is reporting that Ashley was strangled, but police wouldn’t confirm, only saying that she was found with bruises and scratches on her neck. Her body was discovered Saturday afternoon by her boyfriend, Italian painter Federico Fiorentini. Reports say Fiorentini told police he had gotten into an argument with Ashley three days prior to her death. When he wasn’t able to get a hold of her during those three days, he asked her landlord to unlock her apartment for him. Once inside, he found her deceased.
There were reportedly no signs of forced entry.
Ashley had moved to Italy from Summer Haven, Florida in 2012 to study art and be near her father, who also lives there.
So who could have wanted to kill Ashley? The media has been quick to point out that Ashley posted a couple photos on her Instagram account 12 weeks ago, in which she alludes to having a stalker.
It’s not clear where the pics originated from, since it’s obvious Ashley didn’t take them herself.
In perusing her Instagram account, I noticed another post that seems a little curious, in light of what’s happened. Approximately two weeks ago, Ashley posted this photo:
It’s an excerpt from the movie, Eat Pray Love. Was Ashley “seriously considering” breaking up with her boyfriend? Could that have contributed to her death?
The Telegraph spoke with a local resident who said that Ashley had recently confided that she and her boyfriend were having problems.
Ashley’s death also could have been random, but the fact that police have said there was no forced entry makes me think it was someone she knew. And if she was strangled, that just seems so personal.
Police have reportedly taken Ashley’s computer into evidence, but say they have no suspects as of yet.
I’ll keep updating as this case unfolds.
UPDATE: 1/11/16 11:24 AM CST
A Timeline is starting to come together for the days leading up to the discovery of Ashley’s body.
From CBS News:
- Thursday, January 7: Ashley goes to a club with a girlfriend and stays out until dawn. This is the last time anyone was known to have seen her.
- Friday, January 8: Someone is on Ashley’s computer until lunchtime. Investigators believe Ashley was killed sometime on Friday.
- Saturday, January 9: Ashley’s body is found by her boyfriend and landlady.
According to The LA Times, Ashley’s boyfriend, Federico Fiorentini, told police he had gotten into an argument with Ashley “three days earlier,” which would mean they argued on Wednesday.
Some other new info coming out includes that Ashley was found nude with black restraints located nearby, but that there was no initial evidence of a sexual assault.
Police are also reportedly saying that Fiorentini has an alibi.
Investigators are going through surveillance video from Ashley’s neighborhood, looking for clues. Hopefully this case will be solved soon.
UPDATE: 1/11/16 1:50 PM CST
I’m not sure how reliable this is since I can’t speak Italian, but I found an Italian publication that describes what allegedly happened when Fiorentini found Ashley’s body, as told by Claudia Colivicchi, the landlady of Ashley’s apartment.
“Federico was desperate. He hath has been thrown on her to revive her. He could not even see the evidence or at least could not accept it. The body was cold, but he did not understand that there was nothing to do. He tried in every way, first with the mouth-to-mouth then with heart massage. My boyfriend tried to help him and he cried while he repeated “my little one, my love.” The house was also the dog Ashley whining. Believe me, it was a shocking scene.”
Also, from La Nazione:
“I tried to save her – told the artist to investigators – I saw her on the bed and I raised, bringing it to the center of the room. Then I did mouth-to-mouth.” And ‘it annihilated Fiorentini, exasperated at having lost the love strong, intense, often made of quarrels dictated by jealousy for that beautiful girl smile and soft-eyed but the small body and helpless.”
UPDATE: 1/12/16 11:15 AM CST
Prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo spoke to reporters on Tuesday and said that an autopsy confirmed that Ashley was strangled, and that it was possibly done with a rope. He also said more time was needed to determine if she was sexually assaulted as well as the time of death.
CBS News is also reporting that Ashley’s apartment was found in disarray – “broken glass all over the floor, a smashed chair and clothes strewn about.”
It’s odd because it was reported earlier that there were no signs of a struggle on Ashley’s body except for bruising on her neck. But if there was a struggle, as the scene indicates, that might not be true.
They’re also reporting that Ashley was found wearing only socks.
UPDATE: 1/13/16 12:02 PM CST
There’s a lot of info coming out today, but it’s difficult to judge how accurate it is, seeing as the only source reporting it so far is the Daily Mail. Either way, this is from The Daily Mail’s latest article about Ashley:
The American artist murdered in Florence took part in a ‘consensual, erotic sex game’ before she was strangled to death, police said today.
Ashley Olsen, 35, died when she was strangled with a USB wire or cord, an autopsy has found.
The development came as police also identified a potential suspect seen with her on CCTV from outside her apartment.
The man, who is thought to be a drug dealer and may be of African origin, was apparently already known to the victim.
The article then goes on to state that Ashley arranged to meet up with the drug dealer after leaving the nightclub on Thursday night. The arrangements were reportedly coordinated through her cell phone.
If this is in fact true, it shouldn’t be long before an arrest is made. It sounds like police know who the man is and an arrest is hopefully imminent.
UPDATE: 1/14/16 11:17 AM CST
An arrest has been made. You can read about it HERE.
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