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As Details Of Ashley Olsen's Murder Trickle Out, Expats And Italians Worry About Another High-Profile Legal Drama

| by Nik Bonopartis
Ashley OlsenAshley Olsen

American expats and Italians in Florence are reportedly worried about another extended legal drama like the Amanda Knox case after an American artist was found strangled to death.

A Jan. 12 autopsy revealed Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old Floridian living in Florence, had been strangled with a rope or cord, NBC News reported. Olsen's body was discovered on Jan. 9 by her landlord and her Italian boyfriend, Federico Fiorentini. Fiorentini told police he was concerned after he hadn't heard from Olsen for several days, and asked the landlord to open Olsen's apartment, according to The Week. Fiorentini has reportedly been cleared of involvement.

Police haven't named any suspects in the case, and it's not clear why Olsen was targeted. The American reportedly moved to Florence to spend more time with her father, Walter Olsen, who is an art professor at Florence Art School Bianca Cappello.

"She was a beautiful and creative young woman with a happy, exuberant and generous soul, and she loved her life in Florence, in San Frediano," Walter said, according to The Week. "We are heartbroken that she was taken from us."

Italian investigators haven't released many details on the case but said Olsen had bruises and scratches on her neck. Police said her pet beagle, Scout, was in the apartment when she was found, and there were no signs of forced entry.

Meanwhile, American ex-patriates living in Italy and Italians said they were worried about how Italian authorities will handle the investigation. The high-profile murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who was studying in Perugia, sparked a legal saga that lasted the better part of eight years and resulted in widespread criticism of Italy's criminal justice system. American foreign exchange student Amanda Knox, Kercher's roommate, was twice convicted -- and twice cleared -- of murder by Italian courts.

"It reignites the concern of justice, different policing and judicial systems, and the different journalism styles between Italy and the U.S.," Beth Prusiecki, an American living in Milan, told the Associated Press.

Prusiecki was one of several anxious Americans posting to ex-patriate groups on Facebook and other social media. A Florence native, who wasn't named in The Week's report, also expressed concern about another high-profile murder of a foreigner placing Italian authorities in the spotlight.

"We've been through this terribly unresolved mystery with Amanda Knox," she said. "You never want it to get to that point."

Sources: The Week, NBC News, AP via ABC News / Photo source: Instagram via The Week, Rowena Bernardo via NBC News