Pope Francis Meets with Slain Student Beau Solomon's Parents, as Witness Details Alleged Scuffle Between Beau and Suspect

Francis on Wednesday had a private meeting with Beau Solomon's parents

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Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/Pool/AP

Pope Francis on Wednesday met with the parents of the American college student found dead this week in a Rome river, the Vatican announced.

Francis had a private meeting with Beau Solomon‘s parents, Nick and Jodi Solomon, just two days after Beau’s body was pulled from the Tiber River.

The Pope expressed his “feelings of deep sympathy and compassion” and “his closeness in prayer to the Lord for the young man who died so tragically,” according to a Vatican statement.

The Solomons appeared emotional as they stood with the Pope.

Their son arrived in Rome on Thursday, to study abroad for the summer at John Cabot University. His roommate reported him missing hours later, on Friday, after he failed to return from a night out.

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Beau’s body was recovered on Monday, the university announced. A 40-year-old homeless man has since been arrested in connection with his death, ABC New reports.

Massimo Galioto was taken into custody on Tuesday, and police said he was “seriously suspected of aggravated homicide,” according to CBS News. It was not immediately clear if Galioto had appeared in court or responded to the accusations, since his arrest.

One woman told Italian news outlets that she lived in a tent with the suspect and allegedly watched Galioto fight with Beau, according to ABC.

“The American came this way, one could see he was upset,” the woman said. “They were pushing each other. The boy pushed back and then it ended badly.”

Beau battled cancer for 10 years and went on to become a star high school athlete.

He had just finished his first year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in personal finance, according to the school.

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