SMU Grad Killed in Hit-and-Run in Italy

By Julie Tam and Amanda Guerra
|  Thursday, Oct 6, 2011  |  Updated 12:35 AM CDT
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Italian investigators say Allison Owens was killed while jogging near her apartment.

Amanda Guerra, NBC 5 News

Italian investigators say Allison Owens was killed while jogging near her apartment.

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SMU Mourns Loss of Ally Owens

Friends and faculty at Southern Methodist University remember graduate Ally Owens killed in a hit and run accident while she was jogging in Italy.

SMU Grad Killed in Hit-and-Run in Italy

A 23-year-old SMU grad, Ally Owens, was killed in a hit-and-run in Italy, where she was working as a tour guide.
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Italian investigators say a Southern Methodist University graduate who was missing since Sunday was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

Investigators said Allison Owens, 23, was struck while jogging near her apartment in the city of San Giovanni Valdarno in central Italy, about 30 miles southeast of Florence.

"I just don't understand how another human being can do that -- how do you hit another human being and not help them?" said Maggie Gordon, Owens’ cousin. "She's supposed to be here with us."

Gordon said she wished she could tell her cousin goodbye.

"Just that we love and miss you; I hope you’re having a great reunion with your father and [grandmother]," she said. "We know you'll be happy with them, but we wish you were still here, and we love you."

Friends reported Owens missing after she did not return home Sunday.

Police said Owens, who went by Ally, may have been using an iPod and did not hear the approaching car. Investigators first looked into her disappearance as a possible kidnapping or medical emergency that may have left her unable to call for help.

"She was the most wonderful person you could possibly meet. She loved life, and she loved her friends. And she's not replaceable," said Kimberly Carlson, Owens' former roommate and Tri-Delta sorority sister at SMU.

Friends said Owens moved abroad to work as a tour guide in different countries after graduating from SMU in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in corporate communications and public affairs.

Both Owens and her boyfriend worked for Backroads, a company that led hiking and biking tours. They were supposed to meet up in Milan earlier this week, but Owens never made it.

Before relocating to Italy, she had worked in Switzerland, according to a friend.

Owens is the granddaughter of Jerry Owens, the late creator of Owens Country Sausage in Richardson. She is survived by her mother, who has left for Italy to identify her daughter, and her brother, Kyle, a sophomore at SMU.

Gordon said the Owens family has been struck by tragedy in the past five years. Owens' father died of cancer, and she lost both sets of grandparents, as well.

There has been an outpouring of support for the Owens family, including from superstar Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen's daughter is friends with Kyle Owens and has reportedly offered to help the family in any way possible.

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