Texas girl, 7, found murdered days after being kidnapped by FedEx driver delivering a package to her home

A seven-year-old little girl named Athena Strand was abducted and reportedly murdered within an hour after being kidnapped on Wednesday in Texas by a FedEx driver named Tanner Horner who dropped off a package at her home.

(Video Credit: FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth)

Her body was found two days later on Friday night in Wise County, northwest of Dallas by police who had been scouring the countryside looking for the child, according to the Daily Mail. They would not comment on whether she had been sexually assaulted or not and did not disclose how the child died.

Investigators commented during a press briefing that the little girl likely died “within an hour” after being snatched from her home in Paradise. They estimated the timing of the atrocity using digital evidence and interviews.

Horner, 31, has allegedly confessed to taking the child and killing her. He has been charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. If a sexual assault occurred, those charges will be added. He is being held on a $1.5 million bond.

“We’re just sad it didn’t end the way that we hoped that it would end,” Sheriff Lane Akin commented during a Friday night press conference.

(Video Credit: FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth)

Paradise is located in the Dallas-Forth Worth-Arlington metro area, about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

Horner was the only suspect in the murder. Akin expressed confidence that he was responsible for the killing. The FedEx driver had no relation or known connection to the family. It evidently was a crime of opportunity.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office noted that Athena was dropped off at home after school at 4:30 pm on Wednesday. At some point after that, the child went outside after getting into an argument with her stepmother. In a tragic twist of fate, Horner was delivering a package to the house and saw the girl.

Athena never came back inside and was not in her bedroom. Her stepmother reported the child missing to the police at approximately 6:40 pm.

Police think that Horner grabbed the girl in her driveway just 200 yards away from her home. No one heard a sound or saw the abduction.

A tip led the police to connect Horner to Athena’s disappearance following his delivery on the route. The FBI, Texas Rangers, and the Wise County Sheriff’s Offices immediately started working together to find the child. Unfortunately, it ended in tragedy. Two false leads originally had them searching in the wrong places for the girl.

Athena’s body was found ten miles from her home.

The sheriff praised locals that helped with the investigation. Hundreds of volunteers came out to look for the child.

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

It’s one of the toughest investigations that I’ve been involved in because it’s a child, and anytime there’s a child dies, it hits you in your heart. You compare that child to your own children when they were at that age,” he lamented.

Akin went on to say the family was “devastated” by the girl’s death.

“They’re angry because of what happened – a precious child taken from their lives,” he remarked.

FedEx released a statement Friday night on the monstrous incident. The company offered its condolences to the family, “Words cannot describe our shock at the reports surrounding this tragic event. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time.”

On Facebook, Horner described himself as an “aspie. non-neurotypical. musician. metalhead. love is stupid and not to mention completely asinine.”

According to Heavy, he was accused of rape in 2019 on social media.

A woman wrote on Facebook, “friendly reminder that Tanner Horner is a rapist.”

She added, “Tanner Lynn Horner, the man who raped me at 16, 8 years ago, murdered Athena Strand, a 7 year old girl. I hope the family gets the justice they deserve. I hope he rots. And I hope that everyone who didn’t believe me, when I’ve talked about this for EIGHT F****** YEARS, does now. F*** ALL of you.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tanner Horner (@cnc_twitch)

He posted that he was a “Former Drummer at Walmart” who “Worked at Buried A Lie” and was a “Former Drummer at Albertsons.” Horner studied at Azle High School and wrote that he was in a relationship. He also reportedly filled his Facebook and Instagram pages with pictures of him holding a small baby.

On Instagram, he referred to himself as a “Vocalist of commit and conquer. Autistic as ligma.”

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