Athena Strand: Body of missing Texas girl, 7, found after she was kidnapped and killed by FedEx driver
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WISE COUNTY, TEXAS: In a heartbreaking update into the search for a missing seven-year-old girl, police have found her dead body. Athena Strand reportedly disappeared on November 30 from her father’s house in Paradise, Texas, which led to a frantic search for her. However, eventually it was found that a FedEx driver, named Tanner Lynn Horner, had killed her after kidnapping her.
According to Texas sheriff Lane Akin, the child’s remains were found in Wise County on Friday, December 2, after hours of searching. The 31-year-old suspect was also reportedly taken into custody on charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. His bond has been set up at $1.5 million, The Sun reported.
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During a Friday night media conference, Akin said, “We want to send our condolences out to the family of Athena Strand. Her body was recovered about two hours ago, maybe three. It hurts our hearts to know that that child died.” It has been reported that Horner was delivering a package at the victim’s house when he carried out his evil act. Soon after allegedly abducting the girl from her driveway about 200 yards away from her residence, the suspect took her life.
As reported by The Independent, the sheriff explained, “They [the investigative team] were able to determine that the driver abducted Athena and from the investigative standpoint, digitally as well as good old interviews, we think Athena died within just the very hour or so after her departure from her home.”
Akin stated, “This driver is a contract driver... he is from Lake Worth. We really can’t get into the content of the confession, but I will say that we have a confession. It’s still very, very early, but we wanted to make sure that we got the information out,” before mentioning Strand's family. He added, “The vast majority of the family is from Oklahoma, and they appreciated the fact that we care so much. They're devastated, they're angry because of what happened. A precious child taken from their lives.”
This comes almost a day after the little girl’s mother had taken to Facebook urging for help from people in locating her daughter. Maitlyn Presley Gandy shared, “Athena is still missing and we are now over the 24 hour point. Thank you to my wonderful family and the large support from the Wise County community. We are continuing our search. I ask that everyone pray.. pray some more, continue to pray, and never stop praying. I cannot live without my baby and I need her brought home safely to me. Athena didn’t walk away or disappear on her own.”
“I will not give up or stop until I have Athena back. I feel like there is a hole in my heart and half of my soul is missing. An amber alert was issued earlier today. Please do not give up on my baby. Thank you to everyone for the supporting messages and calls. If anyone sees Athena or finds Athena, please call 911,” the mother added.