VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Wednesday consoled the parents of a 19-year-old American university student whose body was found in the Tiber River, who police suspect was murdered.

The Vatican said Francis had met the parents of Beau Solomon privately and expressed his deepest sympathy and "closeness in praying to God for the young man who died so tragically".

Solomon, from Wisconsin, was found tangled in vegetation in the river on Monday, three days after going missing in the middle of the night.

He had been due to start a program at the American John Cabot University in Trastevere, a vibrant district in central Rome that is particularly popular with young Americans.

Police have detained a 40-year old homeless Italian man on suspicion of aggravated homicide.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Kevin Liffey)