Police release 911 call made by Piedmont Park stabbing victim’s girlfriend

Katherine Janness and her 3-year-old dog, Bowie, were killed last week.

Credit: GoFundMe

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Katherine Janness and her 3-year-old dog, Bowie, were killed last week.

Credit: GoFundMe

The panic in Emma Clark’s voice was palpable as she dialed 911 and frantically described the grisly scene at Piedmont Park.

She began to worry after her longtime girlfriend took their dog for a late-night walk July 27 and never made it home. It wasn’t like Katherine Janness to not answer her calls, so Clark tracked her iPhone to the park. Using the app, she could see that Janness wasn’t moving and went to find out what was wrong, Clark’s father later told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Not far from the park’s entrance, she found the lifeless bodies of Janness and Bowie, the couple’s 3-year-old pit bull. Janness, 40, had been stabbed multiple times.

Atlanta police on Wednesday released the 2-minute, 40-second 911 call placed by Clark when she came across the gruesome crime scene.

“Sir, I’m at the entrance of Piedmont Park,” a hysterical Clark told the dispatcher. “I just was searching for my girlfriend because I couldn’t find her. She’s dead! She’s here at Piedmont Park. Please help.”

Portions of Clark’s call were redacted by police, but she can be heard sobbing and breathing heavily as she pleaded with the dispatcher to send someone immediately.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

At one point in the 911 tape, Clark can be heard speaking with another parkgoer who was audibly shaken by what they had seen.

“Did you just see that?” Clark asked. “That’s my (expletive) girlfriend.” The person she was speaking with is heard screaming in the background.

Last week’s stabbing, believed to be the first homicide inside the park in more than a dozen years, has left both residents and parkgoers on edge. Atlanta police have increased patrols in the days since, but Janness’ killer remains at large.

On Tuesday, investigators released surveillance photos of six people spotted in the area around the time of the killing, calling them “potential witnesses.” Video of those same people was released Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told the public there is no evidence the murder was committed by a serial killer or that it was a hate crime. But the case is not a typical one for Atlanta’s investigators and more help is needed, she said.

“This does not fit the description of anything that we’ve seen,” Bottoms said.

The FBI is also investigating after Atlanta police reached out for help with the case, police Chief Rodney Bryant said.

“This was so unique that I felt like we needed to collaborate with as many resources as we possibly can,” he said at the news briefing.

While no suspects have been publicly identified, investigators say the Piedmont Park stabbing is a priority.

“I assure you that the men and women that are assigned to this investigation are working around the clock,” Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said.

The reward for information leading to an arrest in the case was doubled to $20,000 this week following a $10,000 contribution from the animal rights organization PETA.

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to contact the APD homicide unit at 404-546-4235 or Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may also text information to 274637 or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

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