ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Many people are remembering Tuesday night the St. Johns County woman killed while living in Italy.
St. Joseph Academy, Vice Principal Sister Suzan Foster taught 35-year-old Ashley Olsen before she graduated in 1999 and said she never imagined one of her students would be murdered.
“She definitely had a passion for art,” Foster said. “In the midst of all this tragedy, one of the great consolations is that she could continue her artistic endeavors in Italy.”
Olsen took drawing, painting, and pottery classes at the school, a love of art that continued long after she left this campus.
“I remember her having a wonderful sense of humor a great zest for life a wonderful spirit,” Foster said. “I remember her great smile, she lit up a room whenever she came in and of course her artistic ability."
Tami Moree went to middle school with Olsen and remembers her as trendsetter and somebody full of life.
A neighbor remembers Olsen greeting him and his family when they first moved in the neighborhood.
“When I first moved in, Ashley Olsen came over and said hello to us and mentioned that she had lived in the house that we just purchased and her dad built it,” the neighbor said. “She was excited that we had kids and it wasn't going to be a vacation rental.”
An Italian prosecutor said an autopsy has determined that Olsen's naked body was found last week in her Florence apartment and she was strangled with an object such as a rope.
Prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo cautioned that more time is needed to establish the time of death for Olsen, a U.S. citizen who had lived in Florence for about three years.
Creazzo said on Tuesday results of chemical analyses of body tissue and fluid was needed to narrow the time of death, as well as determine whether she had sex, consensual or forced before her death and if there were any drugs in her body. The autopsy was performed Monday.
Olsen's body, with bruises and scratches on her neck, was discovered Saturday after her Italian boyfriend asked the landlady to open the apartment.
Her boyfriend, 42-year-old Italian painter Federico Fiorentini, and several other friends have been questioned, but police said he seems to have a solid alibi for the night of the murder.
Now investigators are focusing on meetings Olsen had in the days before her death.
Olsen grew up in Summer Home, which is close to Crescent Beach.
She moved to Florence, Italy in 2012 to study art, and to be closer to her dad, who teaches at an art school there.