Texas residents joined forces to search for a missing 7-year-old girl on Wednesday. Her body was found on Friday, and a FedEx driver was charged with the kidnapping and murder of the child. The community is in shambles.
Athena Strand disappeared from her home in Paradise on Wednesday. Residents were searching for her in large numbers and eager to get her home. Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, a driver for FedEx, delivered a package to the house and confessed to the murder of the girl.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said the police and community are devastated that the search didn’t end as they had hoped. Authorities believe the child was killed within an hour of the abduction, but they still don’t know why. Horner was charged with aggravated kidnapping and capital murder. The driver is being held on a $1.5 million bond.
BREAKING: ARREST MADE IN MISSING CHILD CASE: A man has been arrested for capital murder and aggravated kidnapping, according to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin. He also confirmed the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand has been found about 6 miles from Cottondale. pic.twitter.com/E46SM9IX2C
— Wise County Messenger (@WCMessenger) December 3, 2022
Police believe Horner had no connection to the family, and the crime appears random. The girl was home from school around 4:30 pm Wednesday. Her stepmother reported to police that the two argued before Athena was abducted from the driveway. She made the official missing child report at 6:40 pm after searching for her with no response. Her father was away on a hunting trip at the time of the abduction.
Athena’s body was found approximately 10 miles from her home after receiving a tip on Horner during the search. Hundreds of volunteers joined the effort along with the Wise County Sheriff’s officers, Texas Rangers, and FBI agents. Akin said, “It’s one of the toughest investigations that I’ve been involved in.”
Horner has been a driver for Uber and FedEx, a musician, and an Azle High School graduate. It does not appear that the suspect has a criminal record. Property records show the suspect lives within the Fort Worth area. FedEx released a statement Friday night saying, “words cannot describe our shock at the reports surrounding this tragic event… Our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time.”