Search for Taylor woman's killer continues almost two decades later

On August 25, 2004, 21-year-old Katara Johnson went about her day like any other. 

An assistant manager at Taco Bell, Katara had worked the evening shift, driving home afterward in her red 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer.

The next morning, Taylor police would receive a call about a dead body.

Katara's grandmother, who lived nearby, noticed that her car was nowhere to be found that morning. Worried about her granddaughter, she checked inside the house, where she would discover that Katara had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Taylor police confirmed the homicide soon afterward.

Now, almost 19 years later, the case is still cold

"She was an outgoing person that stood out in the community," said Williamson County Sheriff's detective Craig Hunter. "Any information would help."

What happened after Katara's death offered few clues. Katara's car was stolen by her killer, only to be recovered a couple days later at Thorndale Pool, nearly 12 miles outside of Taylor, in neighboring Milam County.

"Somebody helped move the car. Somebody picked up the killers in Thorndale," Det. Hunter said. "Somebody know something about this car. We need that information."

Det. Hunter also says investigators are wondering why was the car abandoned in Thorndale in the first place.

Katara's car, like many other parts of her murder, remains a mystery.  

"I just don't understand why it happened or how it hasn't been solved yet," said A.J. Johnson, Katara's brother. "It's frustrating. It's upsetting."

Prior to her death, Katara hosted a party at a local park down the street from her house. One of Katara's sisters, Anissa Robinson, said she went to the party but didn't recall the exact reason there was one. 

"That night at the party when I briefly saw my sister, she was having fun. Everybody was having fun at the park," Robinson said. "I really can't remember exactly what that party was for, but I do know there multiple people were involved in the party."

According to Det. Hunter, that event may be critical in finding out what happened to Katara, and investigators are urging anyone who may have seen or heard anything during the party to call.

While there is little evidence that investigators are releasing at this time, officials say they remain committed to solving Katara's murder.

Katara was a beloved athlete in Taylor, where she thrived on the basketball court. She even got a scholarship offer to a school in Kansas to play basketball. 

"She had to put her plans on hold, but it was always in her and I knew in my head that she was going to go somewhere," said Anessa Robinson, Katara's sister. "Someone robbed our family - we all lost something."


Today, Anessa and A.J. believe that someone in the community knows what happened.

"There is someone who knows who did this. There are multiple people who know who murdered my sister," Robinson said. "…I hope it eats at you every day and hope that you're so uncomfortable in the moment that you have not lived all these years a normal life whatsoever. Whoever murdered my sister, they may be thinking in the moment that they've won. You haven't."

"I think whatever loyalties that people were holding on to for not speaking up, it's just time to do the right thing," said Johnson. 

Katara resides in the Taylor City Cemetery, less than a mile from where she took her last breath.

Those with any information about Katara Johnson's murder should call the Williamson County Sheriff's Office at 512-943-5204. Those with information that could lead to an arrest can also contact Williamson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-253-7867 and be eligible for a cash reward.