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Police confirm murder victim’s cause of death

Decatur Metro ATL

Police confirm murder victim’s cause of death

Karen Pearce. Photo obtained via Facebook.

Karen Pearce. Photo obtained via Facebook.

The Decatur Police Department has confirmed that a woman murdered in downtown Decatur over the weekend died from a gunshot wound, but are providing few other details about the crime.

Police say that on the night of Dec. 6 Karen Pearce, 44, of Smyrna, Ga., left a local restaurant and was walking close to where her vehicle was parked. Witnesses reported hearing a gunshot in the area before Pearce’s body was discovered near a parking deck near One Decatur Town Center.

Initial reports suggested the victim suffered a gunshot wound. On Tuesday, Dec. 9, the police department confirmed that assessment.

“It has been confirmed that Karen Pearce was killed by a gunshot wound,” the statement from the Decatur Police Department says. “Additional details will not be released at this time to protect the integrity of the investigation. We are utilizing every available resource and following every potential lead to conduct a thorough investigation.  We recognize that everyone is seeking a quick answer to explain the senseless loss of Karen Pearce’s life but a thorough investigation is a slow and methodical process.  Investigators are following up on every potential lead in an effort to establish a motive and identify who was responsible for the death of Karen Pearce.”

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Decatur Police Department at 404/373-6551 or Crimestoppers at 404/577-TIPS or online at http://www. crimestoppersatlanta.org/index.

There are many lingering questions about the crime. Police haven’t said whether Pearce was the victim of a robbery attempt gone wrong or if the suspect may have been someone she knew.

Police Chief Mike Booker also issued a statement saying the investigation is the department’s “top priority.” Booker said the department will have extra holiday patrol shifts, but said that is something the department has done in prior years.

“I want to first say that I along with the Decatur Police Department am deeply saddened and troubled by this horrific act,” Booker said. “We are continually working around the clock as we have been since the incident was reported to us in attempts to identify the person or persons responsible for committing this crime. This investigation obviously is the top priority for our entire department and we will continue to work diligently to follow up on leads and tips as they become available. We will continue with our Extra Holiday Patrol shifts as we have done in the past by having extra officers around the business districts as well as in other areas of the city. Thank you for your continued support during this most difficult time.”

Pearce worked as a stylist at True Salon in Marietta, Ga. The salon was closed Monday as employees mourned their colleague. Her parents live in North Carolina. Her father, Larry Pearce told an affiliate of Atlanta’s 11 Alive that, “We have enjoyed her for 44 years, and that’s all I can say.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story provided incorrect information about where witnesses found the body of Karen Pearce. Her body was discovered near the parking deck at One Decatur Town Center.