A FedEx driver was detained and charged on Friday in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a 7-year-old girl who vanished from her Texas home’s driveway earlier this week, according to police.
According to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin, Athena Strand’s body was found Friday night. Akin said on Friday, “It breaks our hearts to know that youngster perished.”
“Because it involves a child, it’s among the most challenging investigations I’ve ever been a part of. And if a child dies, it simply breaks your heart, he continued.
Authorities started looking for Athena in Wise County, which is northwest of Fort Worth after she went missing on Wednesday. The small girl was taken from her family’s driveway, which is about 200 yards from her home, and authorities think she was slain an hour later.
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According to the Wise County jail’s website, Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, is being held there on suspicion of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. According to Akin, a $1.5 million bond was imposed. On Friday, it was unclear if Horner had legal representation.
Athena’s home was supposedly being delivered by Horner, who was recognized by officials as a FedEx contract driver, at the time of her disappearance. Police claim that an anonymous tip they got earlier on Friday enabled them to identify that Horner kidnapped the youngster from her driveway.
In a Facebook post on Saturday morning, Maitlyn Presley Gandy, the mother of Strand, claimed that her daughter had been kidnapped by “a horrible, vicious monster for absolutely no reason.”
“I struggle to express the agony and utter rage I feel. Missing her doesn’t adequately express how I feel, Gandy wrote in a message that was posted alongside a video of Athena, who was three years old at the time. My first child, my first genuine love, and the reason I breathe, I want the world to know about them.
“Athena is the purest, lovely, good-natured, smart, and happy soul you could ever meet. She continued, “I don’t want her to be regarded as the girl who was killed and dumped by a monster. “I want everyone in the world to know that this is my baby and that my kid was stolen from me. I want everyone to be familiar with her name, voice, and amazing personality.
Athena’s mother said that her daughter will be remembered for many things, including her desire to become a Viking princess when she grew up, her passion for all things pink, and the tattoos that looked much like those on her father.
According to Akin, the authorities said Horner did not know the family or the child and did not suggest any potential motivations. According to Akin, Athena’s death is still under investigation, and her body was delivered to the coroner’s office on Friday.
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Gandy published a second Facebook post in which she thanked “the hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers” and law enforcement for their assistance in finding her daughter.
She added, “As a mother, I know no one is as broken as I am…,” adding that the government organizations that helped with the inquiry “have all cried with me.”
Working crime scenes involving children is difficult whether the child is yours or not, she continued. “It requires a certain kind of person.” “I appreciate you finding my child. Everyone, I’m sure, would have preferred a different outcome.
FedEx expressed its sympathies and sent any inquiries to law authorities in a statement to CNN.
“Words cannot express how shocked and saddened we are by the news of this awful incident. The statement begins, “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most trying time, and we continue to fully cooperate with the investigative authorities.
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