American Woman Killed in Italy, Cops Open Murder Probe

Ashley Olsen's death raises fears of Amanda Knox-esque murder saga
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 10, 2016 9:37 AM CST
American Woman Killed in Italy, Cops Open Murder Probe
Italian forensic police officers stand outside an apartment where 35-year-old American woman Ashley Oslen was found dead, in Florence, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016.   (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA via AP)

Police questioned the friends of an American found dead in her Florence apartment as Italy's expat community expressed hope that the case won't turn into another Amanda Knox-style, headline-grabbing legal saga. Police opened a murder investigation Saturday after 35-year-old Ashley Olsen of Summer Haven, Florida, was found dead, her neck bruised and scratched. Police questioned Olsen's boyfriend, a local artist, but have no suspect so far. Meanwhile, friends and fellow expats expressed horror at the slaying of a woman known around Florence for her beagle, Scout, and said they hoped her killer would be found quickly. "I can't imagine a person who would hurt her, she is a gentle, a kind, a beautiful, friendly, lovely girl and it's an awful shock," said a friend. "We've got a great community here of people and everyone loved her."

"I would hope for her sake that this investigation is more clear (than the Knox case)," said Georgette Jupe, who writes the "Girl in Florence" blog and knew Olsen casually. Social media groups for expats in Florence expressed the same sentiment, with several people posting comments about the parallel to the Kercher investigation, which was harshly criticized in both the American and British media. Jupe said Olsen was involved in fashion and had moved a few years ago to Florence, where her father was also a professor. Olsen's Facebook page is full of photos of her and Scout. "She always with her dog, always sitting on steps of Santo Spirito with friends," Jupe said in a phone interview. (Read more Italy stories.)

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