Sheriff Says Delivery Driver Confesses to Abduction And Murder Of Seven-Year-Old Texas Girl

 December 5, 2022

After seven-year-old Athena Strand was abducted, then killed after vanishing Wednesday, and her body was found on Friday, officials in Texas have a man in custody. According to NBC DFW on Friday, officials arrested Tanner Horner, 31, a FedEx contract driver, who made a delivery to Athena Strand’s home the day she disappeared.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin, confirmed that Horner confessed to killing the child, who reportedly died within an hour after she was taken. Akin said during a press conference on Friday-

“This community does not like losing our children,”… “And we can see it because of all the people who came out and helped us throughout this ordeal.”

-Lane Akin, Wise County Sheriff

The suspect, after being arrested, was charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. He is being held on $1.5 million bond. Reportedly, Horner showed officers where the child’s body was located southeast of Boyd, approximately 10 miles from the place she disappeared, after he confessed to abducting and killing her. Other than delivering to the home, the suspect was reportedly not known to the family. According to a Fox 4 report- “Records show that Horner lives in Fort Worth.”

On Wednesday, Strand was at the home of her father, when she disappeared. An Amber Alert was issued for Strand, after she was reported missing from her home by her stepmother, who reported her missing that afternoon once she vanished from her room. According to an NBC report, Strand’s stepmother searched for an hour, but eventually contacted authorities for help in locating her.

WFAA’s Matt Howerton reported that hundreds of people helped in the search near her father’s home in Paradise.

Then, canvassing homes, hillsides and rugged terrain for any sign of the first grader, who relatives said was afraid of the dark and wouldn’t have wandered off alone, hundreds of law enforcement and volunteers, spent Thursday and Friday in the search.

On Friday, Akin said that they learned about a FedEx delivery, that had been to the Strand’s home, at about the time Athena disappeared. Akin further said, that “thanks to good work by investigators” they believed the driver had taken Athena and worked with FedEx to identify and locate him.

Gratefully this person is now in custody and cannot harm any other child. It is tragic that he was able to abduct this first-grader so close to her home – a place of relative safety for most children. May this person, who took her young life, see justice for his crime and with holiday deliveries abounding, may America’s families use wisdom regarding this circumstance, to prevent any attack on their own children.

The nations hearts go out, to little Athena Strand’s family. This is a horror no family should have to face – let alone during the holiday season. May God grant them His measure of comfort in their loss.

"Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love."

-Emily Dickinson
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