Artist from St. Johns County found dead in apartment in Italy

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FLORENCE, Italy —

 A St. Johns County woman was found dead more than 5,000 miles from her home. 

Police in Florence, Italy, said the body of 35-year-old Ashley Olsen was found inside her apartment. 

Although very few details have been released from officials about how she died, police are investigating Olsen’s death as a homicide. 

Action News Jax spoke with friends of Olsen who said they are heartbroken, saying she was a person who everyone adored. 

Olsen was described by friends as someone with an infectious personality, who loved art, fashion and adventures. Her most recent adventure had her living in Italy, where her architect father was working for an art school.  

Meanwhile, family members and friends in St. Johns County are mourning the loss of Olsen. 


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Friends said she grew up in Summer Haven. 

Some said they refuse to focus on what happened to her, but instead want to think about the happy memories they have of their friend.

Staci Kelly said she has been friends with Olsen for the last 13 years.  

“Last night when I was going to sleep, I was trying to think of all the happy times -- the fun times that we had,” Kelly said. “She was full of life. She never met a person who didn't like her. She had the best personality.” 

Kelly said Olsen was very adventurous and loved to travel. 

“She never really stayed in one spot for too long,” Kelly said. 

Pictures on Instagram also show Olsen’s love for something else. 

“She loved her dog, Scout,” Kelly said. 

Kelly said last time she saw Olsen was in April, and she can’t believe now that it would be the last time. 


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“I have never met anyone quite like Ashley. She had a special spark and anyone that met her loved her,” Kelly said. 

She said it’s important for those who knew Olsen to remember her for what she brought to the lives of many. 

“She was just a great person all around,” Kelly said. “You could tell because she was always smiling.”