The murderer of an American artist found dead in her Italian apartment used bare hands to strangle her to death, Daily Mail Online has learned.
Ashley Ann Olsen, 35, was found naked with scratches and bruises on her neck on Saturday in the apartment where she lived in central Florence.
An autopsy is being carried out, but medics have already established that she was strangled, and that no implement was used in her death, the source said.
Olsen’s body was discovered by her boyfriend, Federico Fiorentini, 42, an Italian-American artist, who asked her landlord to open her apartment door after he hadn’t heard from his girlfriend in three days.
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Ashley Olsen, 35, was found dead in her flat in Florence, Italy on Saturday by her boyfriend, an Italian artist
Questioned: Italian-American artist Federico Fiorentini, 42, was held overnight by police after the body of his girlfriend was found. He was freed to go after being questioned by officers
Investigation: Forensic officers were outside the scene of the murder today and found a black bra close to the apartment where Ashley Ann Olsen was found dead. It was placed in an evidence bag
Tributes: Friends of Ashley Olsen left flowers outside the apartment where she was found dead after going missing. Graffiti on the building also said: ‘He is guilty, he will pay for this.’
Police have confirmed that he had scratches across both knuckles, but he said that these were sustained as he battled to save his girlfriend’s life.
Fiorentini was interrogated overnight by police and released without charge in the morning.
The office of the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Giuseppe Creazzo, said that Olsen had apparently opened the door to her killer, as police did not find any sign of forced entry.
The police also confirmed that the killer took Olsen’s mobile phone, making the subsequent investigation more difficult.
Overnight, graffiti appeared at the scene of the crime saying: ‘He is guilty, he will pay for this.’
It is unclear to whom this message referred, but it raises the possibility that people within this close-knit, Bohemian community may be holding information that may prove key to the case.
A black bra was found in the street outside the scene of the crime, and was removed by police.
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 understands that the dog is being cared for by the victim’s family.
Italian prosecutors have opened a murder investigation. The detective in charge of the murder inquiry, Giancinto Profazio, is the same officer who led the investigation into the death of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.
That has stoked fears among locals in Italy it has raised fears that the case could end up like a drawn-out legal saga like that of the high-profile murder case of Kercher.
It resulted in the conviction, then ultimately acquittal of her housemate Amanda Knox, a student from Seattle, in a saga which divided opinion in Italy, the US, and the UK.
Companion: 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.
Vandalism: An apparent threat was left in graffiti around the doorway at the apartment building where Olsen’s body was found. It is not clear who ‘he’ refers to
Twelve weeks ago Olsen shared this photo on her Instagram and wrote in the caption that she had a stalker, including the hashtags #creeperintheback #creeperpic #weirds***’
Olsen also shared this photo nine weeks ago with the hashtags #f***off and #creeper, once again appearing to hint that she may have been followed. It is not clear who took the photos or how Olsen retrieved them
Before her body was found Olsen had shared pictures suggesting she was being stalked.
Olsen first shared a photo on Instagram 12 weeks ago that shows her back, a coffee cup in her hand as she walks her dog.
‘I have a #stalker,’ she wrote in the caption, adding the hashtags ‘#stalker #stalkeralert #creeperintheback #creeperpic #weirds***’.
Three weeks later Olsen posted another picture of her flipping off someone while browsing through clothes at the Piazza Santo Spirito.
Two of her hashtags in the caption read #f***off and #creeper’.
Police would not comment on Italian news reports that the woman had been strangled until an autopsy can be performed, but they did confirm the bruises and scratches on her neck.
Amanda Knox, pictured left, – Meredith Kercher’s American roommate – and Knox’s then-boyfriend were at first convicted of the murder, acquitted, convicted again on appeal and finally acquitted. Kercher is pictured right
Same cop: Domenico Giancinto Profazio lead the Meredith Kercher murder inquiry and is now in charge of the probe into the death of Ashley Ann Olsen
The New York Post reported that locals in Florence have expressed concern about the probe, hoping that it won’t end up like the flip-flopping investigation into the last high-profile murder case of Meredith Kercher – another foreigner who was living in Italy.
The British student was studying in the Umbrian city of Perugia when she was found dead in 2007.
Knox – Kercher’s American roommate – and Knox’s then-boyfriend were at first convicted of the murder, acquitted, convicted again on appeal and finally acquitted. Another man was found guilty of her murder and is serving a 16-year sentence.
‘I would hope for her sake that this investigation is more clear,’ Georgette Jupe, who writes the ‘Girl in Florence’ blog and knew Olsen told the Post.
It has been reported there were no signs of forced entry into the apartment but Olsen’s injuries suggested she attempted to fight off her attacker.
He called police but Olsen, who is originally from Summer Haven, Florida, had reportedly been dead for hours.
Police would not comment on Italian news reports that the woman had been strangled until an autopsy can be performed, but they did confirm Olsen had injuries on her neck
TV and local newspaper accounts said Olsen’s body was identified by the victim’s father, who teaches art at a Florence school
Two weeks ago Olsen shared a photo on Instagram of a page appearing from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat Pray Love that may have hinted she planned to break up with her boyfriend
A local woman revealed Olden had told her the couple had been having problems recently in their relationship.
‘I talked to her nearly every day,’ the woman told The Daily Telegraph. ‘I felt like a mother to her.’
The woman said she advised Olden to get therapy, as the American woman had been in a previous marriage that ended badly.
Olsen also seemed to hint on Instagram that she may have been thinking about ending things with her Italian boyfriend.
Two weeks ago she posted a page from Elizabeth Glibert’s memoir Eat Pray love, which included a passage in which the author contemplates breaking up with her boyfriend David.
‘Maybe it’s time for us to end our story forever,’ the page reads.
‘We loved each other. That was never the question. It’s just that we couldn’t figure out how to stop making each other desperately, shriekingly, soul-punishingly miserable’
Olsen included the hashtag #seriousconsideration in the picture’s caption.
Local TV reports said Olsen’s body was found on a bed in the apartment, which is located in Florence’s historic center Oltrarno.
It was identified by her father, who teaches art at a Florence school.
Tributes: Flowers were left at the doorway to the apartment where the dead woman lived
Investigators have since seized Olsen’s computer. Her boyfriend and a group of mostly American friends were taken in for questioning, according to La Repubblica Daily.
Olsen moved to Florence in 2012 to study art and be near her father.
She was known for organizing events connected to the city’s art scene, according to La Repubblica Daily.
On her social media pages, Olsen shared many pictures of herself beside her beloved dog, Scout, showing the pair appearing to enjoy life in Florence.
Scout was found outside her apartment after Olsen’s body was discovered.
Police vowed ‘maximum attention’ Sunday to find Olsen’s killer but said there are currently no suspects.
Meanwhile, friends and fellow expats left flowers at Olsen’s doorstep as they expressed horror at the slaying of a woman known around Florence for always being with her beloved Scout.
‘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,’ Amy, a friend who only gave her first name, told The Associated Press in Florence.
‘We’ve got a great community here of people and everyone loved her.’