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CRIME

Italy police count on DNA to crack Florence murder

Italian police are hoping DNA traces recovered from the Florence flat of slain American Ashley Olsen will help them find a killer she reportedly had sex with before her death.

Italy police count on DNA to crack Florence murder
Italian police hope DNA traces can lead them to Ashley Olsen's killer. Photo: Claudio Giovannini/AFP

Police forensic experts returned to Olsen's downtown studio on Wednesday morning, a day after it emerged that the 35-year-old had been strangled to death, most likely by someone she knew.
   
Olsen's naked corpse was found at the flat on Saturday afternoon. She had last been seen by friends at a nearby nightclub in the early hours of Friday.
   
A postmortem examination indicated that Olsen, an artist and event organizer who had lived in Florence for several years, had been strangled with some kind of cord or cable but revealed no sign of her having put up a struggle.
   
According to broadcaster Rai and daily La Repubblica, the autopsy also established that Olsen had recently had sex, while witness statements and CCTV footage indicate that she had met up with an unidentified man after leaving the nightclub shortly before dawn.
   
The man is now considered as the primary suspect in the murder investigation with police considering two theories about how Olsen died, the news outlets said.
   
Either it was the result of an erotic asphyxiation game which went wrong or she was strangled while in a semi-comatose state and unable to resist.
   
The prosecutor in charge of the case has refused to comment on whether any drugs were found in the studio apartment.
   
The Montecarla nightclub visited by Olsen in the early hours of Friday has been temporarily closed down several times in recent years, most often because of concerns it was being used by dealers to sell drugs.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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