Body of UW student found in Italy's Tiber River; criminal investigation underway

ROME — The body of 19-year-old Beau Solomon, a student from the University of Wisconsin, was found Monday, July 4th in the Tiber River in Italy -- and there's now a criminal investigation underway.

Beau Solomon

A statement from John Cabot University reads, in part:

"We express our most heartfelt condolences to the Solomon family and to all those who loved Beau. "

UW Chancellor Becky Blank issued 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. 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 19-year-old from Spring Green, Wisconsin, who had just completed his first year of study as a personal finance major in the School of Human Ecology at UW and previously studied at Southwest Technical College and UW-Richland, went missing in the early hours of Friday, July 1st after being with some friends in a pub shortly after he arrived for an exchange program. According to the statement on the University of Wisconsin's website, Solomon's death is being treated as a criminal investigation by local authorities in Rome.

Italy's Tiber River

The statement says: "Based on the investigation thus far, there is no indication of a broader risk to students or others in Rome or elsewhere. Other UW–Madison students participating in the John Cabot program are safe and accounted for." A cause of death has not been revealed, but Solomon's family told John Cabot University the young man was mugged and then thrown into the river. Family members said Solomon's credit cards were used since he disappeared. "The university he's studying at, John Cabot University, through the UW-Madison program, they reported it as a missing person's act. When they informed my parents, they called the credit card company and realized thousands of dollars had been charged on his card," Solomon's brother, Jake Solomon said. Counseling is being offered to students at UW, and resources for faculty and staff are available through University Health Services. Support is also being offered to those in Spring Green, Wisconsin -- where Solomon was a star high school football quarterback and an "A" student.

Vigil for Beau Solomon at River Valley High School in Spring Green, Wisconsin

A vigil was held in Solomon's honor in Spring Green Monday evening at 8:00 p.m. Friends, classmates and former teachers and coaches gathered on the River Valley High School football field to honor Solomon. The field is where Solomon spent so much time as the Blackhawks' star quarterback. He graduated from River Valley High School in 2015. They then walked the track, holding candles and holding one another. Those who knew him best describe him as an incredibly caring, selfless young man. Anders Wermuth said Solomon was his best friend. He said the past few days have been nothing short of a nightmare. "The first thing I asked my dad was 'can I go to Rome?'" Wermuth said.

Vigil for Beau Solomon in Spring Green, Wisconsin

Investigation near Rome

Jake Solomon told our news partners in Madison that his brother Beau had been last seen at an Espresso bar in Italy Thursday night, June 30th with nearly a dozen classmates. They never saw Beau leave the cafe, but they assumed he had already gone home.

Jake Solomon

"They went back to his apartment to look for him. When they didn't find him, his roommate went back trying to find him all night. When he didn't show up for orientation in the morning, they reported him as a missing person," said Jake Solomon.

Beau Solomon

"Most responsible kid ever. Being an older brother, I've always tried to do what I can to take care of him," Cole Solomon said. Beau Solomon was an incoming UW sophomore who was the star quarterback of his high school football team in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He took enough advanced placement classes in high school that, when combined with his summer in Italy, would have allowed him to graduate from UW in only three years and move on to grad school. This, after battling cancer throughout most of his childhood. "He had over 15 to 20 procedures growing up throughout his life and was able to overcome all of that," Cole Solomon said. According to a school administrator in Spring Green, Beau Solomon volunteered in the community and worked at the local golf course. He was seen there as recently as just over a week ago, greeting customers walking into the clubhouse. "Everybody knew Beau and it's really a testament to our community. It really is a school district family and I know everyone will come together and support each other through this tough time," Brian Krey, River Valley Schools director of admissions said.

Investigation near Rome

Cabot University President Franco Pavoncello told the AP Monday the family of Solomon had arrived in Italy. He said the U.S. institution is in contact with Italian authorities, the U.S. Embassy and the student's home school, the University of Wisconsin as this investigation continues.

Investigation near Rome