Homeless Man Arrested in Murder of University of Wisconsin-Madison Student Studying Abroad in Rome

Beau Solomon
Beau Solomon, the missing Wisconsin College student whose body was found in Rome's Tiber river. Ropi via ZUMA Press

Authorities have arrested a 40-year-old homeless man in the death of 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student Beau Solomon, according to The New York Times.

Solomon’s body was found in Rome’s Tiber River on Monday, July 4, after he’d been missing for several days. His brother Cole Solomon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Beau had a wound on his head and a bloody shirt.

Police identified the homeless man they arrested as Massimo Galioto. He was charged with “aggravated murder,” a police spokesperson told NBC News. Two witnesses had come forward and told police they saw a person being thrown into the Tiber River, according to Italian news agency ANSA. 

Beau Solomon
Forensic police scan the banks of the Tiber river in Rome where the body of Beau Solomon was found on July 4, 2016. AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

The rising sophomore had just arrived in Rome on Thursday, June 30, for a summer study-abroad program at John Cabot University, according to a statement on the Italian university’s website. The school was alerted to Beau’s disappearance by his roommate, who said that he lost contact with Beau around 1 a.m. on Friday morning while at a pub in Rome. The roommate, who has not yet been identified, was concerned when Beau did not show up for orientation Friday morning.

After learning of his disappearance, Beau’s family checked his credit cards and found that someone had charged “thousands of dollars” to his account, Beau’s brother Jake Solomon told local Wisconsin station WMTV. Beau’s wallet and phone were also missing, indicating that he may have been robbed before he was killed. 

His family said that Beau survived a 10-year battle with cancer as a child. In recent years, he worked as a camp counselor for the youth leadership program Badger Boys State and taught football at youth quarterback camps.

“All of us at UW-Madison are greatly saddened by this loss,” the school’s chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement. "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. Our hearts go out to Beau’s family and friends at this difficult time. UW-Madison is working with John Cabot University and with American and Italian authorities to assist Beau’s family and to support the investigation into his death.”

The Spring Green, Wisconsin, native was a personal finance major, and had just completed his first year at UW-Madison after previously studying at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Richland. 

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