ATLANTA – Woodbury is surrounded by large peach farms and sits at the crossroads of Highway 18/109 and Highway 85. It is a small community of roughly 900 in population. Woodbury has the state’s oldest and longest covered bridge – Big Red Oak Covered Bridge, built in the 1840s by bridge builder Horace King.
About 11 miles south lies Manchester, “the most developed region in Meriwether County and the most populous city in the region,” according to ExploreGeorgia.org. About 3600 residents call Manchester home.
By all appearances, both towns are ordinary small towns, pleasant and uneventful. That is, until the day a young mother of three vanished without a trace.
Olivia Samantha Fowler, 26, grew up in Woodbury and graduated from Manchester High School.
Fowler was a family person and preferred time with her family over friends. She was particularly close to her younger sister, Roxanne Fowler Pouncey, and the two would often cruise around town together, listening to music. The sisters grew even closer when they became pregnant around the same time.
At age 20, Fowler gave birth to her first child, a girl, in October 2015. She would go on to have two more children in 2018 and 2020.
According to Pouncey, Fowler did not have her own place and divided her time between her mother’s Manchester home and her father’s Woodbury residence.
On Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, Pouncey spoke with Fowler that morning. Fowler was getting ready to shower and asked her sister if she could borrow her phone to listen to music. Fowler did not have a cell phone at the time.
Pouncey was running behind and had to get to work. She told Fowler she loved her and headed out the door. That was the last time Pouncey saw and spoke to her sister.
Fowler stayed at her boyfriend’s house on Short Street in Manchester that night. It is unclear if he is her children’s father.
The boyfriend said he was going to bed, and Fowler told him she was going out on the porch to smoke a cigarette. Fowler was gone when the boyfriend awoke on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021.
“Local residents that live on that same street said they seen her that morning walking at 7:38 a.m.,” Roxanne told Dateline in August 2022.
A Department of Natural Resources officer saw Fowler at 10 a.m. on Pebblebrook Road. Pouncey believes Fowler was headed to a part of Woodbury called “The Cove,” near Woodbury Research Facility on Cove Road, about 5 miles from Pebblebrook Road.
Fowler’s family reported her missing on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, when they could not reach her. They created flyers and campaign-style yard signs for distribution around the area.
Tamara McCoy, Fowler’s aunt, coordinated “Olivia’s Army” to search for her missing niece. McCoy told FOX 5 Atlanta in September 2021, “Olivia wouldn’t go 40 days without reaching out to her family.”
Fowler’s family also launched a campaign on Facebook, #bringoliviahome, to help locate her.
Chief Deputy Byron Hadley told Dateline that Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office “executed over 20 search warrants,” and “checked multiple counties and states” for Fowler. Furthermore, they have also conducted “land and air operations” and performed “K-9 searches.”
As of August 2022, “there is no direct information related to foul play,” but authorities are not ruling it out.
Police announced in May 2022 that the FBI had joined the search, and Fowler’s family hoped Fowler would be found. However, she remains missing.
Pouncey told Dateline that Fowler’s disappearance is uncharacteristic and believes someone in the area has information vital to the case but refuses to come forward.
When Fowler vanished, she had no history of mental illness and would not have abandoned her children.
Fowler is 5’2″, 105 lbs., with dirty blonde hair, blonde highlights, and green eyes. She has a missing tooth on the right side of her mouth and ‘I love you’ tattooed in the elbow crease of her right arm. Pouncey said the ‘I’ is a bit faded.
According to Pouncey, Fowler was last seen wearing a tie-dye shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Their cousin has custody of Fowler’s children. She sometimes uses the surname “Hightower,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Anyone with information regarding Fowler’s disappearance should contact their local FBI office or the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 672-4489.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
When I punched Short Street to Pebblebrook Road, where the DNR officer saw Fowler at 10 a.m., into Google Maps, I got a distance of 4.5 miles and a walking time of 90 minutes to get there.
Pouncey thought Fowler was heading to “The Cove.” If so, why was she going there?
We have the boyfriend’s neighbors who saw Olivia at 7:38 a.m. (that’s precise) and the DNR officer at 10 a.m.
No one else saw her in between the two sightings? I find that hard to believe. Depending on Olivia’s route, Shirey Road versus Highway 85, someone likely had to see her walking. The area is heavily wooded, with no sidewalks, making it less ideal for walking. It was a Friday morning with people going to school and work.
We have two hours and 22 minutes from one sighting to the next. It’s roughly a 90-minute walk from Short Street to Pebblebrook Road. There are about 52 minutes unaccounted for between sightings. Did she stop somewhere along the way? Someone else must have seen her.
It would have taken Olivia another 90 minutes or longer to walk to “The Cove” from Pebblebrook Road, arriving around 11:30 a.m. I could not find the exact location of “The Cove.” We’re talking a total walking distance of about 8 miles if she did or attempted to go to “The Cove.” That’s a lot of walking, but someone could have offered her a ride at some point, and something happened afterward. I just punched in a random address on Short Street because I do not know the boyfriend’s exact address. I don’t think it makes sense that she was going to “The Cove” unless she hitched a ride, which is possible.
Someone local is likely responsible. What about the boyfriend? I could not find his name or whether the police had ruled him out.
He said he went to bed while Olivia smoked on the porch. But she must have gone back inside to go to bed. Did he not notice this? It does not take long to smoke a cigarette, maybe 10 minutes.
She obviously stayed the night there because his neighbors saw her at 7:38 a.m. the following day. How do the police know Olivia never returned to his house after the 10 a.m. sighting?
What about other people Olivia knew? Someone knows what happened to her, and they need to come forward.