FBI joins hunt for killer who stabbed woman in Atlanta park

Posted at 8:20 PM, July 29, 2021 and last updated 8:34 PM, May 12, 2023

ATLANTA (AP) — Investigators sought video from homes and businesses near a popular Atlanta park as divers searched a pond in their quest to solve the stabbing death of a parkgoer who was walking her dog.

Katherine Janness, 40, was found dead in Piedmont Park around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Police say her dog was also killed. No arrests have been made.

Investigators have gone door-to-door asking neighbors for surveillance footage, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The aim is to help them retrace Janness’ steps and glean any clues they can from the video.

Divers also spent much of Wednesday searching a pond in the park, news outlets reported.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also assisting Atlanta police in the probe, F.B.I. spokesperson Kevin Rowson said Thursday.

Janness was found stabbed multiple times and Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton described the scene as “gruesome.”

Police on Wednesday released a photo of Janness crossing a rainbow-painted Pride crosswalk near the park in the city’s Midtown neighborhood. Janness was a bartender at a nearby restaurant, friends and relatives said.

Chip Powell said he had worked with Janness for eight years when she had been the bar manager at a local improv theater.

“Katie was the most down to earth, beautiful spirit that you would ever meet,” Powell told WXIA-TV. “So many people in the community knew and love her.”

Janness and her girlfriend, Emma Clark, had been together for about seven years and considered themselves married, said Clark’s father, Joe Clark.

“They would’ve been together forever,” Joe Clark told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They were that couple.”

Janness was an avid reader who collected books, he told the newspaper. She had also taught herself to play guitar and sang songs that she’d written, he said.

Mourners on Wednesday left flowers, as well as dog treats, near the park entrance where her body was found.

Hampton said it’s too early to determine a motive for the killing.

Investigators are offering a $10,000 reward for information regarding the slaying.