Missing Texas girl Athena Strand abducted and killed by Fed Ex driver, sheriff says

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 10:19 PM CST
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WISE COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - Authorities on Friday evening found the body of Athena Strand, 7, a missing Texas girl now known to have been abducted and murdered by a Fed Ex driver, said Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.

The suspect, identified by the sheriff as Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, of Lake Worth, Texas, allegedly confessed and is now in custody on capital murder and aggravated kidnapping charges. Horner’s bond was set at $1.5 million.

Tanner Horner currently sits in the Wise County Jail with bond set at $1.5 million
Tanner Horner currently sits in the Wise County Jail with bond set at $1.5 million(Wise County)

“It’s one of the toughest investigations I’ve been involved in because it’s a child, and anytime it involves a child who died, it shatters your heart,” said Akin.

Athena was last seen at her father’s home on County Road 3573 in Paradise, Texas at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Sheriff Akin said investigators knew early on in the investigation that a Fed Ex driver made a delivery in front of Athena’s home at about the same time she disappeared.

The evening of Friday, Dec. 2, investigators searching for Strand taped off a car on County road 4599 at Texas 114 in Boyd, Texas, about seven miles from where Athena was last seen.

The sheriff announced shortly after 10 p.m. that the girl’s body had been found.

Investigators said they obtained evidence indicating Horner abducted the girl near the gate of her home’s driveway, which is about 200 yards, or the length of two football fields, from the residence itself.

“We think Athena died about an hour after” she was abducted, the sheriff said.

Police did not share information on a possible motive but did say Horner did not know Athena or her family.

Investigators said “digital evidence” and the cooperation of Fed Ex led authorities to the suspect.

This is a developing story.