Kidnapped 7-year-old found and FedEx driver arrested

My heart is broken…Dear Athena.

Athena Strand, the 7-year-old girl who disappeared and was kidnapped from her Texas home, is found dead.

Her lifeless body was found on Friday evening according to the police.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said at a news conference, “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.”

The search for Athena was very intense and unfortunately, the officials think that she was killed an hour after the abduction.

The person charged for this monstrous case is 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, a driver working for FedEx. At the moment, he is being held in Wise County jail on capital murder and aggravated kidnapping charges. The bond has been set at $1.5 million.

It was an anonymous call that led the police to Horner, who was delivering orders when he noticed the girl.

Maitlyn Presley Gandy, the girl’s devastated mother, made a post on Facebook. Her daughter was taken from her arms by “a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason.”

She 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 authorities have revealed that the reason for her death remains a mystery. Horner had no relationship with the girl or her family.

Gandy expressed her gratitude to everyone who was involved in the search for her daughter, who she said dreamed of becoming a Viking princess with tattoos, just like those of her father, and loved wearing pink.

“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 is hard,” she added. “Thank you for finding my baby. I know everyone wishes this would have ended differently.”

Rest in peace baby!

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