October 5, 2011
ROME — The body of a Powell woman missing in Tuscany for three days was found Wednesday beside a busy roadway in what appears to be a hit-and-run accident, Italian police said.
Carabinieri Col. Antonio Frassinetto told a news conference that the body of Allison Owens, 23, of Powell, was found in a canal beside the heavily trafficked road in San Giovanni Valdarno.
Tests have been ordered to determine the cause of death, but investigators believe she had been jogging. Owens may have been using an iPod and not heard a car approaching, Frassinetto said.
Owens was a guide for a tour company. She was last seen alive Sunday afternoon, and more than 100 police using dogs searched for her after friends reported her missing.
Italian media reported that her mother arrived Wednesday and met with investigators.
Stacy Lilly, a close friend of the family in Columbus, said Owens’ mother, Cindy Owens, arrived in Italy on Wednesday and was in shock over the news while trying to confirm the details of her daughter’s death with Italian authorities.
Lilly, 38, said Allison Owens had been in her wedding and was “like my sister.” She said friends and family were in disbelief.
“She was the most amazing, life-loving person I have ever met,” Lilly said. “She had a love of life, she embraced life with open arms.”
Owens decided to become a tour guide in Europe after touring Switzerland with her mother in 2010, a trip that was a graduation gift after the younger woman earned a degree in communications from Southern Methodist University, Lilly said.
“She just fell in love with the outdoors and with adventure,” she said. When Owens died, she was on her next-to-last tour of the season and was then due to return to Ohio, Lilly said.