In a shocking and horrifying turn of events, Beau Solomon, a soon-to-be sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who would be spending the summer studying at John Cabot, a university in Italy, was instead found missing less than 24 hours after he arrived in the country, and was later found dead.
The timeline from Solomon’s arrival to his disappearance is extremely brief – arriving Thursday, he accompanied his peers to a bar that night and the next morning, after not showing up to their room or orientation, Solomon’s roommate alerted officials. On Monday, the 19-year-old’s body was found in Rome’s Tiber River.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the equivalent of $1,700 U.S. dollars were charged to Solomon’s credit card on Saturday a great distance away from the spot of his reported disappearance, indicating suspicious behavior.
Italian police are investigating a homeless man, 40-year-old Massimo Galioto, who they believe may have ties to the disappearance and possible murder of Beau Solomon. On a local Italian TV news network, the homeless man’s female partner, both of whom had camped out at the Tiber River, reported that Solomon had been robbed and was agitated and angry when he and the homeless man became engaged in a fight.
An Italian news agency, ANSA, reported that an autopsy revealed water in Solomon’s lungs, indicating he would have been alive when he first went into the river. However, whether he was pushed in or stumbled in drunkenly – as Galioto’s partner told Italian TV networks – is still under investigation.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank released this statement:
All of us at UW-Madison are greatly saddened by this loss. Beau was a bright and caring young man who lived the Wisconsin idea through his work at Badger Boys State and his desire to travel and experience other cultures.
On Wednesday, July 6, The Chicago Tribune reported that Pope Francis met with Solomon’s parents, and expressed “feelings of deepest sympathy and compassion, and his closeness in prayer to the Lord for the young man who died so tragically.”
Our hearts go out to all of his family and friends.
Lead Image Credit: The LA Times via WMTV