ATLANTA - The loved ones of an Atlanta woman found brutally stabbed in Piedmont Park say they are mourning the loss of a "beautiful soul" after her death.
Katherine Janness went out to take her fiance's dog for a walk early Wednesday morning and never came back. Family members say her fiance Emma Clark followed them through her iPhone tracker and found both Janness and her 3-year-old pit bull Bowie dead near the entrance to the park at 10th Street and Charles Allen Drive.
Officers with the Atlanta Police Department told FOX 5 that the Janness had been stabbed multiple times and the scene of the crime was "gruesome" and "hard to stomach."
Writing on Facebook, Clark said her heart was broken and her "world would never be the same" after the deaths.
"She was the most intelligent, kind, humble, and beautiful person I have ever known. I wanted to spend every second with her," said Clark, who had been Janness' partner for 7 years. "He was the sweetest most loyal companion."
Katherine Janness and her partner Emma (Courtesy of the family)
Joe Clark, who would have been the victim's father-in-law, told FOX 5 that his daughter and Janness were looking toward their future together before her life was cut short.
"Their love and relationship was based on mutual understanding to let each other live a full life," Clark said. "They were a happy couple building their life-long future."
Clark said that Janness, who they called "Katie," loved to collect books and taught herself to play guitar and write songs.
"Katie was a kind and gentle person and did possess a wit about her," he said. "She loved Tori, her 14-year-old Pittie - her constant companion. She also loved Emma’s 3-year-old Bowie who died along with her. He protected her till the end. But most of all she was my Emma’s person."
Katherine Janness (Courtesy of the Atlanta Police Department)
Clark described the person who killed Katie as a "monster."
"They were left to die alone," he said.
Thursday night, family and friends of Katie gathered near the location where the 40-year-old and her dog were both found stabbed to death at Piedmont Park.
"What they did to her is ridiculous. There is a monster on the loose in the city of Atlanta," Clark said.
"We need to have our mayor and people come in and tell us what the hell happened because it is not right," Chip Powell said.
Those gathered vowed to honor her memory.
"She was an amazing human being that lost her life in the park in a way she should not have," Powell said.
The bodies of the 40-year-old and her dog, Bowie, were found just inside the park stabbed to death. They were found by her longtime partner Emma who was present at the vigil but was too emotional to talk.
"She ran for her life. She didn’t know if someone was still here," Emma’s father Joe Clark said.
"I am angry that we lost this human being," one midtown resident said.
There was grief but also anger as family, friends and those in the community want to know just how this could happen.
"The crime in the city is out of control and we have had it. We have all had it. Enough is enough," one resident said.
"Why are there not surveillance cameras out here on either side of this wall?" Powell said.
"Walk with someone else right now. Walk in a group and don’t walk at night. This community is not safe," friend Kristy Jo Stupa said.
"The way Katie died, no one should ever have to," Clark said.
Family members confirm FBI is now involved in the investigation.
Atlanta police have not released any information on a suspect or motive.
Friends and residents would often see Katie walking her dog around the neighborhood.
"We just talk, sit down after work. It’s just hard to believe that she’s gone," said friend Corey Briscoe.
Briscoe is one of the many people who would see Katie walking her dog around the neighborhood and would often see her come into the Pet Set, where he works.
"Yes, she loved her dog a lot. She always used to come in get a few bags of treats and everything used to talk about him," Briscoe said.
He said she worked as a bartender at Campagnolo Restaurant + Bar, just up the street from where she and Clark lived.
He said the whole neighborhood is in shock over her death.
"Everyone’s on high alert. I hear people talking about it at the corner store like I said, at the train station, they don’t want to go out. They just don’t want to walk around no more. It’s just, even seeing the helicopters around all the time now, it’s not how Midtown feels," he said.
Atlanta Police shared a photo taken from a Midtown security camera before Katherine Janness' murder. (Atlanta Police Department)
Officials have not been able to say if this was a random act of violence or if it was targeted. No suspect has yet been named in the investigation.
The Atlanta Police Department is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that could help them arrest and indict a suspect in the case. If you can help, please call the Atlanta Police Homicide Unit or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.
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