ROME — Amanda Knox's family has asked Raffaele Sollecito — her former boyfriend who was also cleared of the murder of Meredith Kercher — to come to her home town of Seattle, according to a report Thursday.
The Times newspaper, of the U.K., said that Sollecito's father, Francesco, spoke to reporters outside the house in the Italian town of Bisceglie, near Bari, where his son is currently staying after being released from four years in prison.
"We didn't manage to speak to Amanda. Raffaele didn't manage even by telephone. After the court ruling, we went in different directions, but through my daughter I learned that Amanda's stepfather [Chris Mellas] invited us to Seattle," he said, according to the paper (which operates behind a paywall). "At this time, we have nothing planned."
Raffaele Sollecito spoke briefly to Italy's ANSA news agency by phone after his release, The Times said.
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"Amanda? Maybe I'll see her again, but now I only want to be with my family," he reportedly said.
Francesco Sollecito said his son appeared to have been "reborn," The Times said. "He's like a baby growing up that has to learn to get used to life," he told the reporters.
He said that he had attempted to speak to the Kercher family after the verdict that freed his son and Knox, but their lawyer intercepted him.
"I realized it was too soon," he said, according to The Times. "I hope that when they have digested the ruling, I will be able to have a meeting with the family of poor Meredith so they can understand that Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with this horrible death."
Sollecito read a statement by his son, in which he claimed police had been violent toward him after he was arrested, The Independent newspaper reported.
"I thought that I didn't have anything to worry about because they would look after me as my father had always told me they would," he said. "I certainly couldn't have imagined that rather than protect me the police would act with violence and coercion."
What next for Knox?
Meanwhile, there was growing speculation about what Knox will do next.
The Seattle Post-intelligencer reported that local TV stations have pledged to stay away from the homes of Knox's family members, but said there is still a noticeable presence from outside media organizations.
The newspaper reported, citing her father Curt, that Knox is not won't be found in either of her parents' neighborhoods.
Nevertheless, police were keeping an eye on the situation to make sure it didn't get out of hand.
"With that level of celebrity, there's always going to be some degree of problems," said Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, according to the report. He added that no one has reached out to police with specific concerns, but "we certainly have tools at our disposal that can be of assistance."
The types of issues encountered in such situations — harassing phone calls, trespassing, crowds — could necessitate stepped up police patrols, the Post-Intelligencer report said. But the police told the paper that it would do the same for any other resident finding him or herself in a that situation.
"We're not a private security company," Whitcomb told the newspaper. "But we are a responsive government agency. Certainly if there are any law violations surrounding Amanda's return, then we'll take it very seriously."
The intense interest in the case means the former American exchange student could get a book deal that easily reaches seven figures — and help pay back her family the money they spent to overturn her murder conviction in the death of her roommate in Italy.Video: Knox family thanks supporters (on this page)
Speaking fees could earn her $50,000 a piece. Plus there are the movie rights.
"The importance of her telling her story is to give a picture of hope to people, but also to correct the misperceptions of her, the mischaracterizations of her, of who she is as a person," said Dave Marriott, a publicist hired by the family in 2007.
"For her to tell her story will help people understand what a wonderful young woman she is," Marriott said. "She has a very heartfelt story to tell."
And that story so far has been fodder for the tabloids. In Europe, she was dubbed "Foxy Knoxy." In the U.S., she became a cause celebre. In the countless hours of TV footage and hundreds of stories, there's a lot of material that she will need to counter.
Knox, 24, returned to her hometown of Seattle on Tuesday, a day after she was released.Timeline: Amanda Knox trial (on this page)
She had been in custody since 2007, when she, Sollecito and another man were accused of killing Kercher, her British roommate, as part of a bizarre sex game. Her conviction was overturned after an independent review discredited DNA evidence presented in her first trial.
Despite that and what some saw as a far-fetched theory by prosecutors, suspicions remain in some quarters about how much she knew about the crime. Hundreds of young Italians jeered the acquittals outside the courtroom, yelling "Shame! Shame!"
And on Wednesday night, one of judges who served on the appeals court jury, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, stressed on state TV that the acquittals "resulted from the truth that was created in the trial."
"But the real truth could be different," he added. "They could also be responsible, but the proof isn't there."Story: Italian judge: Knox might know 'truth' in case
Questions remained about some of Knox's behavior after her arrest. She reportedly turned cartwheels and did splits as she waited for police questioning. Investigators said she sat on Sollecito's lap, making faces and kissing him.
Knox confessed to having been at the apartment, covering her ears to drown out Kercher's screams, and later changed her story to say she was at Sollecito's apartment. She was convicted of wrongly implicating her boss, Congolese bar owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.