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Police have suspect in strangled American woman's murder

Police have suspect in strangled American woman's murder

Investigators have a suspect in the murder of Ashley Olsen after security cameras captured her returning to her apartment in central Florence from a nearby nightclub with the unidentified man, police said on Wednesday.

La Repubblica daily cited witnesses as telling police they had seen the 35-year-old American woman walking back to her studio flat with the man early last Friday. The suspect may be local drugs dealer, the paper reported.

Police returned to Olsen's apartment on Wednesday to gather further forensic evidence while the Florence prosecutor's office waited for the results of DNA and of toxicology tests to determine if there were drugs or alcohol in her system when she was killed between 7am and 1pm on Friday.

Olsen's naked, lifeless body was found in her flat on Saturday by her boyfriend, 42-year-old Italian artist Federico Fiorentini accompanied by Olsen's landlady. She had scratches and bruising to her neck and been strangled, possibly with a computer cable or a necklace, prosecutors said, citing initial autopsy results.

Olsen was last seen alive between Thursday and Friday at the seedy members-only Montecarla club. At around 3.30 am, Olsen's friends left and she reportedly told them she wanted to stay on at the club, which closes at 7am.

Fiorentini provided police with an alibi on Monday and is not under investigation.

Olsen, a divorcee from Florida was the daughter of an art historian and had been living for the past three years in Florence, where her father teaches.

Olsen's family have issued a statement asking to be allowed to grieve for their daughter in private.