A Senegalese immigrant was arrested on Wednesday (13 January) in connection with the murder of 35-year-old American artist Ashley Olsen in Florence. Italian media reported the man was detained just hours after detectives returned to Olsen's apartment to find evidence to identify her murderer.
Italian news agency ANSA reported on Thursday (14 January) that police had arrested the suspect based on DNA evidence found at the scene. According to CBS News, investigators narrowed in on their suspect by using footage from surveillance cameras on the route from the nightclub where the two were spotted together.
The suspect was known to police for being involved in the local drug scene. Authorities revealed the victim may have known her killer and did not fight her attacker. Investigators were looking into Olsen's computer and a bra found near her apartment.
An autopsy on the victim revealed she was strangled with a USB wire or cord after partaking in a "consensual erotic sex game". Olsen, originally from Florida, was discovered by her boyfriend, Italian-American artist Federico Fiorentini, on 9 January after he had not heard from her for several days following an argument. When she did not answer her door, her boyfriend managed to convince the apartment owner to open the door, where he discovered her body with bruises and scratches on her neck.
Police have said Olsen's boyfriend has an alibi and is not considered a suspect. Olsen's landlady, who was with the boyfriend when they discovered the body, said he attempted to revive Olsen with CPR despite it being obvious she was already dead.
Local TV and newspaper reports confirmed that her body was identified by her father, Walter Olsen, who teaches at Bianca Cappello Art Academy in Florence.
Walter Olsen released a statement expressing the family's grief over their loss and describing his daughter as "a beautiful and creative young woman, with a happy, exuberant and generous soul." He added: "We are heartbroken she was taken from us." Olsen's mother is expected to fly to Italy and arrive on 14 January, MailOnline reported.