Animal rights organisation PETA has doubled the reward for information on the murder of Katherine Janness, a queer woman who was stabbed to death alongside her dog.
It comes as the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has addresses spiralling rumours that Janness’ and her dog fell victim to a vicious serial killer.
Janness, 40, was walking her dog Bowie in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday (28 July), when they were both stabbed to death in a murder that police described as “gruesome”.
Atlanta Police Department is investigating the homicide but, almost a week after Janness’ death, has no suspects and has not deduced a motive for the killing.
Authorities were initially offering a $10,000 reward for information, but now PETA has stepped in to double this figure.
The additional $10,000 was offered by an Atlanta-area PETA member, the organisation said.
PETA vice president Colleen O’Brien said in a statement: “Anyone who would kill a woman and the dog who likely tried to defend her, as loyal dogs invariably do, is a threat to the entire community of living, feeling beings.
“PETA knows well the sociological studies of killers who target the most vulnerable among us and urges anyone with information to come forward to help police identify this callous killer.”
Atlanta mayor forced to address ‘serial killer’ rumours surrounding the murder of Katherine Janness
Following the death of Katherine Janness, the local Atlanta community has been living in fear, which has been exacerbated by the lack of information given to the public by police.
According to Newsweek, Atlanta police chief Rodney Bryant said that the force had teamed up with the FBI almost immediately after her death, and added that the murder “was so unique that I felt that we needed to collaborate with as many resources as we possibly can”.
While Atlanta police have described the murder as “unique” and out-of-the-ordinary, little detail has been given, and rumours have been swirling.
At a press conference on Tuesday (3 August), Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms attempted to dispel some of the myths.
She said: “I know there have been several rumors that there is a serial killer on the loose in our city. We don’t have any evidence of that.”
Bottoms added that investigators didn’t “have any proof” that Janness was murdered because of her sexual orientation.
Atlanta Police Department also released a statement in which it said: “We are investigating a callous murder and we must be careful about what information we release, to protect the integrity of this investigation. Please rely on the information released through official channels and do not promote rumours and speculation on active investigations.
Like most of you, members of APD are deeply concerned with the recent murder of Katherine Janness. Those investigating are working tirelessly to find the person(s) responsible. There’ve been many rumors & much speculation surrounding this case: https://t.co/hkwzTmKaPh pic.twitter.com/Sd0mkOJW4k
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) July 30, 2021
“We ask that you let us do our job and help us ensure this investigation is not compromised in any way. Our goal is to bring anyone involved in this shocking murder to justice.”
Katherine Janness’ partner said her ‘world will never be the same’
On the night of her death, Katherine Janness had told her partner, Emma Clark, that she would be taking Bowie out for a short walk.
When she hadn’t returned several hours later, Clark decided to track her partner’s mobile phone, and traced her to Piedmont Park.
When she arrived, she found her wife’s body, along with their dog’s, both of them having been stabbed to death.
Atlanta, Georgia – At the memorial site for Katherine Janness, there are dozens of flower bouquets and boxes of dog treats for her beloved dog, Bowie.
— ATLWEBMAG (@ATLWEBMAG) August 2, 2021
Clark wrote on Facebook on Wednesday (28 July): “Today I lost the love of my life and my baby boy. It was tragic.
“She was the most intelligent, kind, humble, and beautiful person I have ever known. I wanted to spend every second with her. He was the sweetest most loyal companion.
“My heart is so very broken, my world will never be the same. Thank you to everyone who has reached out. It is truly appreciated.”