As friends and family paid tribute to an Atlanta woman stabbed to death along with her dog while they were walking in a public park last week, the ongoing search for a killer ramped up with the assistance of the FBI.
“There is a monster on the loose in the city of Atlanta,” Joe Clark, whose daughter was the partner of victim Katherine Janness, said at a vigil on Thursday for the slain woman. The day before, his daughter Emma Clark went looking for Janness after midnight when she didn’t return home and discovered her body in Piedmont Park, reports ABC News.
Emma Clark praised her partner of six years as “the love of my life” on a a GoFundMe page.
“She was the most intelligent, kind, humble, and beautiful person I have ever known. I wanted to spend every second with her,” she wrote.
Their dog, Bowie, “was the sweetest most loyal companion.”
“My heart is so very broken, my world will never be the same,” she wrote.
Joe Clark told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “They would’ve been together forever. They were that couple.”
Atlanta police, who responded to the scene about 1:10 a.m. Wednesday, said surveillance footage last showed Janness, 40, walking her dog near the rainbow-painted crosswalk at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.
Joe Clark said that when Janness didn’t return home with the dog, Emma Clark used a cell phone app to track her. She could see that Janness’ phone was in the park a short distance from the couple’s residence, but that it wasn’t moving, he said.
Emma Clark then found Janness and the dog dead about 100 feet apart. Both had been repeatedly stabbed.
An FBI spokesman confirmed to PEOPLE that the federal agency has joined Atlanta police in the investigation.
Joe Clark said Janness regularly listened to podcasts as she walked in the park, and felt safe doing so even as Emma Clark urged her to carry pepper spray.
Late on Tuesday evening, he says Janness, who worked as a bartender at both an Italian restaurant and an improv theater, stopped by a tavern where Emma Clark worked. The two women made plans to meet up again later and walk home together from Emma Clark’s workplace. But when that time arrived, Janness didn’t show up, wasn’t answering her phone, and didn’t pick up at their residence.
That’s when Emma Clark traced the phone to the park and went looking for Janness inside of it.
“It was a very violent end for her,” Joe Clark told the Journal-Constitution. “There’s no doubt in my mind, she did not go down without a fight.”
Violence affecting those who are going about their regular activities “puts people on edge and should have people more vigilant and watching their surroundings,” Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore told the newspaper. “They’re not sure if they’re going to be next or if someone that they love will be next.”
A suspect has not yet been identified in the stabbing, for which there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.