The father of an American woman found dead over the weekend in her Florence apartment has issued a statement expressing the family's grief and asking for privacy.

Walter Olsen, the father of 35-year-old Ashley Olsen, said in a statement issued late Tuesday that "we are devastated that our precious Ashley has passed away resulting from a horrible and senseless crime."

He described his daughter as "a beautiful and creative young woman, with a happy, exuberant and generous soul," adding: "We are heartbroken she was taken from us."

He asked that the family be left to grieve in peace and expressed "faith that the perpetrator will be found and sentenced."

An autopsy has determined that the woman was strangled with a rope or a cord. No suspect has been identified.