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EXCLUSIVE: Partner of woman killed in Piedmont Park speaks about victim's final moments

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Emma Clark says Katie Janness, 40, was her favorite person in the world. The two women celebrated six years as a couple in June. Each called the other her wife. Thursday, Emma said she still hasn’t come to terms that her life partner is gone.

Clark called police after finding Janness stabbed to death inside Piedmont Park around 1:10am Wednesday. Their dog Bowie had also been killed.

“Katie didn’t deserve to go through what she did,” Clark said. “She was a really good person. She never did anything bad to anybody."

Janness worked as a bartender at Campagnolo Restaurant in Midtown. Clark works as a server at Henry’s a few blocks away. The two met at a Midtown bar about 8 years ago.

Clark says she and Janness began their Tuesday together with coffee, as usual. Janness did not have to work that day, but Clark did later that evening. Clark said Janness stopped by Henry’s with their dog Bowie to say hello before leaving the restaurant to walk their dog that night.

“She came by with the dog because if she is out with the dog and she is over there she comes to say hi and lets me see him,” Clark said. “Just check up on me see how long I was going to be at work. I said I love you, be safe, and see you later."

Later, Clark said Janness did not respond to her phone calls or texts.

“If I get home and she is not there, I always just call her just to be like, ‘hey what’s your ETA? Where are you at,'” Clark said. “And, she didn’t answer. She always answers. That’s when I knew something was really wrong. I called her a bunch of times. She didn’t answer. I texted her a bunch. She didn’t respond. I knew immediately something wasn’t right.”

Clark says she used the 'Find my Phone' app to locate Janness’ phone. She says it pinged to Piedmont Park and was not moving, which concerned her considering Janness was walking the dog. Clark says she left her home and began driving around familiar routes that she thought Janness would take. She says she then went to the park and made the gruesome discovery that Janness had been mutilated and their dog killed as well.

Clark says it’s the worst thing she could have imagined.

“It’s really sad for me to lose her, but I can’t even imagine how scared she was for that to happen,” she said. “She wasn’t an easily-scared person. She felt confident. She felt safe being in Midtown. In her final moments that was taken from her and that is what bothers me the most.”

Atlanta Police released a surveillance image of Janness walking her dog across the Pride intersection at 12:09am Wednesday, July 28th. Less than an hour later, they received a call from Clark around 1:10am, that Janness had been found dead in the park near the 10th street entrance off of Charles Allen Drive.

One day after brutal murder, Atlanta Police increased patrols in the area. Officers on bikes are on duty 24/7 riding inside and around the park. The mounted patrol unit had officers on five horses, patrolling the park throughout the day Thursday as investigators try to identify the killer.

Police are not releasing surveillance video or the 911 call in the investigation.

“I hope they find them, and I hope they get what they deserve,” Clark said.

Clark described Janness as smart, creative, witty, and a big advocate for equality and social justice. She says she loved writing and recording songs, which she sometimes uploaded to the Soundcloud music site online.

“She had something new to teach me every day and that was one of my favorite things about her,” Clark said. “She’s so smart. I told her she could’ve done anything in the whole world.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Janness's family with funeral arrangements. Clark says Janness was planning to fly to Michigan Thursday to visit her mother and friends.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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