On Thursday morning at approximately 2:15 A.M. an Amber alert went out in Texas for Athena Strand. A 7-year-old little girl with “dirty blonde hair.”
On Friday night, the next evening authorities located the body during an afternoon search in Boyd after following a tip that led them to a delivery driver.
The sheriff said investigators believe the suspect, Fed ex delivery driver had kidnapped the girl and killed her.
The suspect, a 31-year-old FedEx driver named Tanner Lynn Horner, later confessed to abducting the girl, Akin said. Horner was a contract driver.
“It’s one of the toughest investigations I have been involved in because it’s a child,” Akin said at a press conference late Friday night alongside Athena’s biological mother and other emergency response officials.
He added: “Any time there’s a child that dies it just hits you in your heart.”
Akin also said they believe the girl was killed “within an hour or so” after she was taken from her home. “This community does not like losing its children,” Akin said Friday night.
Athena went missing Wednesday afternoon after she left home following an argument with her stepmother, according to Fox 4. Athena got off the bus around 4:15 p.m. and left the home sometime before 5:15 p.m., when the stepmother noticed she was missing.
The stepmother searched for an hour and then phoned the police, Fox 4 reported.
Her biological father was out of town on a hunting trip and her biological mother lives in Oklahoma, per the report.
Finding the body brings a heartbreaking end to more than two days of searching, which involved dozens of law enforcement officials, helicopters and dog rescue teams. More than 300 volunteers also joined in to help, the Wise County Office of Emergency Management said.
Acting FBI Agent In Charge Jim Dwyer told Fox 4 that digital evidence helped lead investigators to the FedEx driver, but did not elaborate further.
“Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow at the reports surrounding this tragic event,” a FedEx spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities. At this time, any further questions should be directed to law enforcement.”
Horner, who is from Lake Worth, is in the Wise County Jail on capital murder and aggravated kidnappings charges, Fox 4 Dallas reported. He is being held on a $1.5 million bond.
Authorities did not comment on whether the girl had been sexually assaulted. A cause of death has not been determined.
This is terrible. When I saw the alert come up on my phone, I went to look her picture up and my spirit just knew…
Prayers for the mother, the father and the step-mother who now has to carry the burden of something tragic happening to another woman’s child in her custody.
My guess says someone’s doorbell camera caught him in the act. What is your guess as to the “digital evidence”? I am also feeling that he possibly had pictures of her in his phone.
Tragic. R.I.P. Litte Baby