FedEx driver is arrested in the abduction of a 7-year-old girl who went missing outside her home this week, police say

The 7-year-old girl named Athena Strand who vanished from her Texas home’s driveway and was reported missing earlier this week was found dead.

Police officials reported that her lifeless body was found Friday night.

At a press conference, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin stated, “It hurts our hearts to know that child died. It’s one of the toughest investigations that I’ve been involved in because it’s a child. And anytime there’s a child that dies, it just hits you in your heart.”

Athena was the subject of an overzealous search. Officials believe the girl was killed within an hour of her kidnapping, which is a horrible way for it to finish.

Tanner Lynn Horner, a FedEx driver, age 31, is the one accused in this horrifying crime. He is currently being detained in the Wise County jail on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder. A $1.5 million bond has been set as the amount.

Horner, who is thought to have been bringing some products to the Strands when he saw the girl, is said to have been located by investigators thanks to an anonymous tip.

Maitlyn Presley Gandy, Athena’s devastated mother, wrote in a Facebook post that her girl was taken from her family by “a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason.”

Further, this heartbroken mom wrote, “I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel. Missing her doesn’t cover how I feel,” along with a video of Athena when she was 3. “I want the world to know my baby, my first baby, my first true love, the reason I breathe.”

“Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet. I don’t want her to be the girl known as the one murdered and discarded by a monster,” she added. “I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me. I want everyone to know her face and her voice and just how wonderful of a person she is.”

The girl’s body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office, according to the authorities, who also said that the cause of death is still being looked into. Furthermore, it has come to light that, at the time of Athena’s kidnapping and subsequent murder, Horner was unaware of her or her family.

Gandy expressed her gratitude to everyone who helped in the search for her daughter, who she said had pink hair, loved pink clothes, and dreamed of being a Viking princess with tattoos like her father’s.

“As a mother, I know no one is as broken as I am…

“It takes a special kind of person and whether a child is yours or not, working crime scenes involving children are hard,” she added. “Thank you for finding my baby. I know everyone wishes this would have ended differently.”

FedEx, the company Horner worked for, issued a statement regarding the tragedy.

“Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow at the reports surrounding this tragic event. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities,” and directed further questions to law enforcement.

Rest in peace little girl, you will never be forgotten.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Athena’s family during these difficult times of grief and sorrow.

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