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Italian police investigate murder of US woman

Crime scene Image copyright AP
Image caption Police have questioned Olsen's boyfriend

Police are giving "maximum attention" to the investigation of the death of an American woman in Florence who was found strangled in her apartment.

Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old artist from Florida, was found dead on Saturday with neck bruises and scratches.

Italian police have vowed to find Olsen's killer and have questioned her boyfriend.

Police in Italy were criticised for how they handled a murder case involving another American, Amanda Knox.

British student Meredith Kercher was found dead in 2007 in Perugia, Italy.

Her roommate, the American Ms Knox, and her then-boyfriend, were convicted of the murder, acquitted, convicted again and acquitted again.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Tributes have been laid outside her flat

News agency ANSA said she was found strangled but have not named an official cause of death.

"I can't imagine a person would hurt her," Amy, a friend of Olsen's who would not give her surname, told the Associated Press news agency. "We've got a great community here of people and everyone loved her."

Georgette Jupe, another friend who knew Olsen because they lived in the same area and both had beagle dogs as pets, said she hopes for Olsen's sake the investigation is "more clear" than in the Amanda Knox case.

Olsen was an artist who worked in fashion and had moved to Florence a few years ago, she said, where her father worked as a professor.

"She was always with her dog, always sitting on the steps of Santo Spirito with friends," said Ms Jupe, referring to the Santo Spirito church in Florence.

Another Florence resident, Alexandra Lawrence, said the first thing she thought of when she heard of Olsen's death was the Amanda Knox story.

"You never want it to get to that point," she said.

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