Police in Rome Monday were investigating the death of a 19-year-old Wisconsin student as a murder hours after they found his body in the Tiber River, his family said.
Crews pulled Beau Solomon’s body from the water earlier Monday. Local news agency ANSA reported two Italians claimed to have seen a man throw a person into the Tiber Thursday night or early Friday morning near Garibaldi Bridge.
Solomon had a wound on his head and a bloody shirt, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Preliminary autopsy results indicated that Solomon had suffered injuries consistent with a fall and with days spent in the water, ANSA added. The exact cause of death remained unclear.
He had gone out to a pub with friends Thursday, hours after he’d arrived in the Italian capital. The school was “alerted by his roommate who reported that he had lost contact with Beau around 1 a.m. on Thursday night.”
Officials said he failed to show up at orientation Friday morning. After contacting a credit card company, the family learned that somebody charged “thousands of dollars” to his account, including nearly $1,700 at a store in Milan — some 350 miles northwest of Rome, Italian media reported.
The young man’s wallet and phone were missing, news reports said, indicating a possible robbery.
“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.
The university was in contact with Italian authorities, the U.S. Embassy and the student’s home school, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cabot President Franco Pavoncello told the Associated Press.
Relatives said Solomon had survived a childhood cancer battle that lasted 10 years. “All three of us (brothers) are aligned on the fact that Beau is the toughest S.O.B. that we’ve ever met,” his brother Jake told the Journal Sentinel.
Beau Solomon was from Spring Green and UW-Madison said he had just completed his first year as a personal finance major. His family said he dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
Solomon’s case marks the latest dramatic development involving an American student in Italy.
In 2012, a U.S. 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. The stabbed student survived.
Also in recent years, a young American man, recently arrived in Rome for studies, apparently fell off a low wall, where many people sit at nighttime, and landed several yards below on the cement banks of the Tiber River near the Trastevere neighborhood.
Trastevere and the Camp de’ Fiori Piazza areas are filled with pubs, bars and cafes, many of them frequented by U.S. students who do “pub crawls.”
In another case, another young American male student, who had been reported missing after leaving a bar, was found dead near train tracks in a tunnel, apparently hit by a train in the early morning hours.
Fox News’ Courtney Walsh and The Associated Press contributed to this report.