PORT ALLEN, La. – The wife of former Louisiana elections commissioner Jerry Fowler is missing and may have been kidnapped, West Baton Rouge authorities said Wednesday.
Authorities say Mari Fowler, 65, was involved in a struggle outside a Port Allen sandwich shop on Christmas Eve and apparently was abducted.
Employees at the sandwich shop told deputies Fowler was their last customer of the evening.
They noticed her car still sitting outside the store several minutes after she made her purchase.
"Apparently, she pulled in to purchase what she needed ... and, whoever abducted her was there waiting on her," said West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Chief Deputy Mike Cazes.
A State Police helicopter and two Pointe Coupee Sheriff's helicopters were helping to search the area on Wednesday, Cazes said.
Ground search teams were ready in case the helicopters searches yielded anything suspicious, Cazes said.
Cazes said robbery has been ruled out because they found Fowler's food and personal belongings on the ground.
West Baton Rouge authorities say they've called in members of Baton Rouge's serial killer task force to help in the search. But Cazes said authorities are not linking Fowler's disappearance to the serial killer.
The two sandwich shop workers told authorities they got a glimpse of a white or silver vehicle that may have been a truck. Witnesses in the serial killer cases have reported seeing a white truck at some of the crime scenes.
Family members told deputies Fowler was on her way to meet them for Christmas Eve. Authorities say several wrapped presents remained in the back of her car.
Jerry Fowler left office as elections commissioner in 1999 amid scandal. He is in federal prison serving a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to accepting kickbacks from voting machine contractors.