Suspect detained in death of US woman in Florence

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Senegalese Man Arrested Over Ashley Olsen's Death

MILAN (AP) -- A Senegalese immigrant was detained Wednesday in the strangulation death of a 35-year-old American woman, just hours after crime scene investigators returned to her Florence apartment to search for clues identifying her killer.

Ashley Olsen was found nude on her bed in her rented apartment on Saturday after her boyfriend had the owner open the door, alarmed that the woman had failed to respond to phone calls. The body had bruises and scratches on the neck, and an autopsy determined that she had been strangled with a cord or a rope.

SEE ALSO: American artist reportedly strangled in Italy

The Italian news agency ANSA reported early Thursday that police detained the suspect Wednesday based on DNA evidence taken from the scene. Investigators had narrowed in on the suspect using video surveillance cameras along the route from the nightclub that showed them together Friday morning, a day before Olsen's body was found. The man was known to authorities for being involved in the local drug scene.

See photos of Ashley and her apartment in Florence:

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American Ashley Olsen, 35, killed in Italy
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Suspect detained in death of US woman in Florence
Two women walk past the entrance to the building that houses the flat of Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old American expatriate artist who was found dead on January 9, in Florence on January 11, 2016. Italian police were today studying cc-tv footage and awaiting the result of an autopsy as they attempted to explain the mysterious slaying of an American woman in Florence. Expatriate Ashley Olsen, an artist and event organiser who had moved to the Tuscan city to be near her art teacher father, was found dead in her flat in the city centre on January 9. / AFP / CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 1, 2016 shows messages and drawings on a wall to the building that houses the flat of Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old American expatriate artist who was found dead on January 9, in Florence. Italian police were today studying cc-tv footage and awaiting the result of an autopsy as they attempted to explain the mysterious slaying of an American woman in Florence. Expatriate Ashley Olsen, an artist and event organiser who had moved to the Tuscan city to be near her art teacher father, was found dead in her flat in the city centre on January 9. / AFP / CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 9, 2016 shows police officers and forensics carrying the body of Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old American expatriate artist who was found dead on January 9 in her flat in Florence. Italian police were today studying cc-tv footage and awaiting the result of an autopsy as they attempted to explain the mysterious slaying of an American woman in Florence. Expatriate Ashley Olsen, an artist and event organiser who had moved to the Tuscan city to be near her art teacher father, was found dead in her flat in the city centre on January 9. / AFP / CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian police officers stand outside an apartment where 35-year-old American woman Ashley Olsen was found dead, in Florence, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Italian police say the woman has been found slain in her apartment with bruises and scratches on her neck, but wouldn’t comment on Italian news reports that the woman had been strangled until an autopsy is performed. (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA via AP)
Italian forensic police officers stand outside an apartment where 35-year-old American woman Ashley Olsen was found dead, in Florence, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Italian police say the woman has been found slain in her apartment with bruises and scratches on her neck, but wouldn’t comment on Italian news reports that the woman had been strangled until an autopsy is performed. (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA via AP)
Police officers investigate on January 9, 2016 outside the building that houses the flat of Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old American expatriate artist who was found dead on January 9, in the center Florence. Italian police were today studying cc-tv footage and awaiting the result of an autopsy as they attempted to explain the mysterious slaying of an American woman in Florence. Expatriate Ashley Olsen, an artist and event organiser who had moved to the Tuscan city to be near her art teacher father, was found dead in her flat in the city centre on January 9. / AFP / CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Authorities released no other details. The lead prosecutor had declined to comment on the case earlier Wednesday, and police officials say they are not authorized to speak to media during the investigation.

Olsen, originally from Summer Haven, Florida, had been living in Florence for three years, an active member of the expatriate community and art scene. She had moved to Italy to join her father Walter Olsen, who teaches in the Renaissance art city.

Walter Olsen issued a statement late Tuesday expressing the family's grief and confidence that the killer would be found.

He described his daughter as "a beautiful and creative young woman, with a happy, exuberant and generous soul," adding: "We are heartbroken she was taken from us."

He asked that the family be left to grieve in peace and expressed "faith that the perpetrator will be found and sentenced."

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