Family of Sandy Springs murder victim speaks; Reward upped to $100K

Clutching a photo of her mother, Katie Gryglas stood behind Sandy Springs Deputy Police Chief Keith Zgonc and tried to hold back tears.

Gryglas is the daughter of Kay Thomasson, the 71-year-old Sandy Springs woman who police say was murdered in her home on Old Woodbine Road on June 27.

Monday morning, Zgonc announced that the reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect responsible for the homicide had been increased from $12,000 to $100,000, the highest reward the city has ever offered for information related to a crime.

“We want this guy bad,” Zgonc said. “I think the $100,000 being put forth indicates to the public how serious we are about solving this case.”

Police released a brief description of the suspect over the weekend, describing him as a black man with a medium build and dark clothing. Sgt. Sam Worsham said the suspect description came from "analysis" of surveillance video police obtained, showing the suspect walking near Thomasson's home. Police could not determine factors such as his age, height or if he had any tattoos or facial hair.

Surveillance video from Thomasson’s home shows the suspect. The video was released by Sandy Springs police on Monday. The AJC has added a red circle to make it easier for readers to identify the suspect.

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Gryglas was accompanied by other family members at a press conference at Sandy Springs Police Headquarters on Monday, but she was the only one who spoke to the media.

“Our mom was such a loving member of this community, for over 40 years,” Gryglas said. “All of us went to school here. We know that this is a community that takes care of its neighbors. We’re asking you now to take care of one that mattered greatly to us. She would’ve done anything for anybody.”

Thomasson missed an appointment on June 27 and was found dead in her home that day by a family member around 7 p.m., police said. That family member called police. The Fulton County Medical Examiner later determined that Thomasson died "as the result of a stab wound to the back of her neck" during the "early morning hours" of June 27.

A 2012 black Kia Sorento belonging to Thomasson was missing from the scene when family members and police arrived. Police believe that the suspect stole the vehicle. It was recovered on June 30 at the Azalea Place apartment complex in Chamblee, about five miles from Thomasson's home.

Zgonc couldn’t say whether the suspect forced himself into Thomasson’s home. He also couldn’t say if credit cards or anything else was stolen from the home.

“We have been working tirelessly on this case,” Zgonc said. “We have several detectives and a street crimes unit that have been dedicating 100 percent of their time on investigating this case. And our intention is to keep doing that until we successfully complete the investigation.”

According to online property records, Thomasson had been living in the home since 1975. A neighbor told Channel 2 Action News that she lived alone.

This is the second homicide in Sandy Springs this year and the fourth since 2016.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective JT Williams with Sandy Springs Police at 770-551-6937 or Crime Stoppers of Metro Atlanta at 404-577-8477.

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Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik spent the day Thursday at the home along Woodbine Road as crime scene investigators scoured for any clues in the case.