Italian police arrest homeless man in death of US student

by Douglas Stevenson Julio 12, 2016, 3:16

On Tuesday, Italian police detained homeless man Massimo Galioto in the robbery and murder investigation of 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student and cancer survivor Beau Solomon, who had just landed in Rome for a study overseas program with John Cabot University on Thursday.

He went missing in the early hours of Friday morning after he went drinking with other students in the late night Trastevere quarter and his blood-stained body was found floating in the city's Tiber River near the Marconi Bridge on Monday.

Amid the weekend's search efforts for Solomon, the student's family reportedly discovered thousands in charges to his credit card, according to a Madison TV station.

Cole Solomon, Beau Solomon's 23-year-old brother, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that investigators are treating the incident as a murder.

In 2012, a US student was allegedly stabbed by his roommate, a fellow student at John Cabot University, after what police said was a night of alcohol and possible drug use and Halloween partying.

"We express our most heartfelt condolences to the Solomon family and to all those who loved Beau", officials at John Cabot University said in a statement.

Solomon had just finished his freshman year at UW-Madison.

Beau Solomon, 19, from Wisconsin, was reported missing when he failed to show up for orientation at John Cabot University. "We are dedicated to helping the Solomon family through this hard time". Solomon "suffered injuries consistent with a fall and with days spent in the water", according to the Wisconsin State Journal article.

Solomon's parents arrived in Rome on Monday evening, Italian authorities said. Police say they are now checking surveillance cameras and conducting interviews to try to piece together a timeline.

On Tuesday, UW-Madison Vice Provost Guido Podesta, who leads the campus' worldwide division, said the university "takes numerous steps to ensure that our programs operate in safe environments", and recently hired a new global safety and security director.

John Cabot University President Franco Pavoncello said the school takes maximum measures to keep students safe on campus and around its residences, using both Italian soldiers and private security forces.

Taylor Lewis, the study abroad coordinator at Viterbo University, says all students going overseas are educated on the dangers.

Cause of the student's death also remains unclear.

Two witnesses said they saw a man being pushed into the river on the night of Solomon's disappearance, prompting the murder investigation. Over was $1,700 was found to have been charged to Solomon's credit card in Milan.

"My heart goes out to his family and friends", Phillips said. "The U.S. Embassy stands ready to provide support to Italian authorities investigating his disappearance and death".

On Monday, hundreds of people took part in a vigil for Beau Solomon at River Valley High School in Spring Green.

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