updated 10/6/2011 4:04:24 PM ET 2011-10-06T20:04:24

An autopsy Thursday determined that a young American woman whose body was found in a roadside canal in Italy was fatally struck by a vehicle, a lawyer for her family said.

The victim, 23-year-old Allison Owens of Columbus, Ohio, worked as a tour guide. She was believed to have been jogging when struck Sunday afternoon along a busy road that runs through the Tuscan town of San Giovanni Valdarno.

"The autopsy has been completed. The experts who performed it agree that the death was caused by a road accident," Valentino Durante, representing the Owens family, told reporters in Arezzo where the forensic exam was carried out.

"There are no signs of violence," he also said.

Italian news reports said car fragments, possibly from a dark-colored Volvo, were found near the body and that Carabinieri paramilitary police investigators have checked nearby auto body shops for potential leads.

Carabinieri Col. Antonio Frassinetto, who is leading the probe, was out in the field Thursday evening and could not be reached for comment. On Wednesday, after the body was found in a canal near the road, Frassinetto said Owens may have been jogging with an iPod and not heard a vehicle approaching.

Owens was last seen alive Sunday afternoon. Her mother, Cindy Owens, arrived on Wednesday in San Giovanni Valdarno.

"When she (the mother) came to Italy, she found a community of persons, of friendship, even with strangers, who contributed to make the most sorrowful day of her life less sorrowful," Durante said.

Durante accompanied the mother to a prosecutor's office, which also has begun a probe.

"The only statement she made this morning was, 'Allison was a marvelous girl,'" the lawyer told reporters.

San Giovanni Valdarno's mayor has appealed to citizens to report anything they might have seen in hopes of finding the driver. A bouquet of white carnations was tied to the guardrail which runs along the stretch of road where Owens was killed.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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