ROME — A homeless man was charged with murder Tuesday in connection with the death of U.S. college student Beau Solomon, who vanished just hours after arriving in the Italian capital last week.
The 19-year-old sophomore — who had beaten childhood cancer — was due to study at John Cabot University, a small Rome-based liberal arts college.
The visiting student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was last seen about 1 a.m. on Friday (7 p.m. ET Thursday) while at a pub in Rome. He had arrived in the city only hours earlier. Solomon’s roommate became “worried when he did not see Beau at orientation” later in the day…
Investigators identified the accused as Massimo Galioto, a 40-year-old homeless man. He was being charged with aggravated murder.
After the disappearance, Solomon’s parents called their son’s credit card company and “realized thousands of dollars had been charged” to his account in Milan, according to Jake Solomon, his brother. Milan is about 350 miles north of Rome.
“It’s a murder investigation,” Cole Solomon said before the arrest was made.
Beau Solomon, a personal finance major, had been due to participate in a study abroad program. His parents arrived in Italy on Monday, Jake Solomon said.
John Phillips, the U.S. ambassador to Italy, sent his condolences to Solomon’s family on Tuesday.
“I was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Beau Solomon,” he said in a statement. “My heart goes out to his family and friends. The U.S. Embassy stands ready to provide support to Italian authorities investigating his disappearance and death.”
Abby Liles of South Carolina, who also traveled to Rome to study at John Cabot University, she was extremely shocked by his death.
“It’s very sad, especially for the family,” Liles said.
“We generally feel safe, but we’ll be extra cautious now.”
A friend, Madisun Holverson, called Solomon “the funniest, most confident, charismatic person I’d ever met.”
“Beau had a personality that was magnetic. Everyone wanted to be around him,” said Holverson, who said her friend “wouldn’t want people to sit around crying.”
“The world has suffered a great loss, but he will always be with us in our memories and in our hearts,” she said.