A woman and her dog were fatally stabbed in a popular Atlanta park on Wednesday morning, police said. Katherine Janness, 40, and her dog, Bowie, were found at around 1 am inside of Piedmont Park at 10th Street and Charles Allen Drive in the city's Midtown neighborhood, according to authorities.
Police said that Janness was stabbed multiple times in the 'gruesome attack' and died of excessive bleeding. The suspect remains at large with police still unsure about the motive or if it was a targeted or a random attack.
According to reports, Janness, who lives near the park, had told her family that she was taking their dog Bowie for a quick walk, the victim's father-in-law told Fox 5 Atlanta. After she didn't return home, her family started looking for her but they couldn't find her.
Atlanta Police said that they arrived at the spot after they got a call that Janness and her dog's body was found at the Charles Allen entrance around 1:00 am on Wednesday, hours after the park was closed. She was last seen on surveillance video walking her dog near the rainbow crosswalk at 10th Street and Piedmont Ave. in midtown Atlanta.
"It's a gruesome scene," Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. told the news outlet.
Authorities have now released a photo of Janness crossing the rainbow-painted crosswalk near the park in the city's Midtown neighborhood. They are currently working to retrace her steps as the suspect is still at large and police are still clueless about the motive behind the gruesome murder.
An investigation has been launched into the incident and a $10,000 reward has also been announced for information regarding the slaying of Janness and her dog. However, a lot of questions remain unanswered for the police. It is still unclear why she was inside the park after dark, CBS 46 reports.
Detectives are working to obtain footage from security cameras at the park and nearby businesses. According to Fox 5, a dive team will also search the park's lake for clues.
Reporter Kaitlyn Rossi echoed the request for tips in a heartfelt Facebook post featuring photos of Janness and Bowie.
"The last photo police have of Katie Janness doesn't show the kindness in her eyes. It doesn't show her sweet spirit or how she cared for her family. It doesn't show the love she had for her dog, Bowie. I just saw this picture of the two of them together and it broke my heart," Rossi wrote.
"Looking at this picture of Katie and Bowie, I just know they protected each other to the very end. I wanted to share this picture in hopes that someone might see her face or see Bowie and realize they know something â that they know anything that could bring the monster who did this to justice."