The devastated mother of murdered seven-year-old Athena Strand posted a heartbreaking video on social media of the little girl’s sister crying for her sibling days before she was found dead in a ditch.
A video posted by Maitlin Presley Gandy on Monday shows her other daughter sobbing uncontrollably for her “sister”. Athena lived in Oklahoma with her mother and sister while visiting her father in Paradise, Texas at the time.
On Wednesday, Athena disappeared from her father’s home and an Amber Alert was issued the next day. Her body was discovered on Friday.
Police said 31-year-old FedEx truck driver Tanner Lynn Horner confessed to abducting the little girl before killing her within an hour of the abduction. He has been charged with aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping.
A motive has not been released and Mr Horner is not believed to be connected to the little girl.
Neighbors of the suspect spoke of their shock at his arrest for murder. “I find it just shocking that it was him,” one woman said.
Tanner Horner’s neighbors react as he is accused of murdering Athena Strand
FedEx delivery driver Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, has been arrested in connection with the murder of Athena, who disappeared Nov. 30 from her home in Paradise, Texas, authorities said Friday. Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told reporters that Mr. Horner confessed to killing Athena within an hour of abducting her.
Talking to Forth Worth Star-TelegramNeighbors of Mr. Horner said he lived with his grandmother and mother in a west Fort Worth neighborhood and that he would leave for several weeks before returning home.
Rachel SharpeDecember 6, 2022, at 11:00 a.m
Grandfather says he forgives FedEx driver accused of Athena’s murder
The devastated grandfather of murdered seven-year-old Athena Strand has said he forgives the “psycho” FedEx driver accused of abducting and killing her, but also wishes he could have “five minutes alone in a cell” with the suspect.
“This flesh, this person that I am, is angry and I want 5 minutes alone in a cell with the psychologist who took our Athena from us, but there is a soft, gentle voice in the back of my head that says I have to forgive him.” he wrote.
independent’Rachel Sharpe has the story:
Rachel SharpeDecember 6, 2022, 10:40 am
Mother shares heartbreaking video of Athena’s sister
Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Presley Gandy, posted the video to Facebook on Monday, three days after her child was found dead in Paradise, Texas. The little girl was reported missing on Wednesday, November 30, and the suspect, Tanner Lynn Horner, has now been charged with her abduction and murder.
Ms Gandhi explained that the video of her other daughter sobbing uncontrollably to her “sister” was taken days before Athena went missing when the seven-year-old was visiting her father in Texas. At the time, Mrs. Gandhi said she did not reassure the distraught girl that her sister would soon return to them in Oklahoma.
“That video about [redacted] begging for my sister was Sunday 11/27 when we thought she would only be gone for a few days. I kept telling her, ‘It’s okay, we’ll see sister soon,’ not knowing how messed up our lives would be,” Ms Gandhi wrote.
Independent there is a story:
Rachel SharpeDecember 6, 2022, at 10:20
School District Superintendent Athena attended the prayer calls
Rod Townsend, superintendent of the Paradise Independent School District, asked the school community to pray for the child and her family.
“I am addressing you with a sad and heavy heart. We lost a valuable member of our student body. Athena Strand was tragically lost last week,” Mr. Townsend wrote in a post addressed to the school district’s community of students, staff and parents.
“This world will forever be different because she was not allowed to grow and develop into the precious young lady she was meant to be.”
Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022, at 8:00 a.m
Texans asked to wear pink to honor 7-year-old Athena Strand
Wise District Judge JD Clark said in a statement that pink was Athena’s favorite color and encouraged everyone to wear pink on Monday.
“My heart is so heavy for Athena,” the judge added. “Furthermore, I invite everyone to join me on Monday at 6:30 p.m. on the steps of the Courthouse to pray for Athena, her family, our first responders and our community.”
Athena’s mother also took to social media to invite parents to dress their children in pink as a tribute to her little girl.
“Today I put my little girl on pink for Athena. She said: “My favorite color is pink too, we could have been friends.” I am praying for you. And I’m so sorry,” one mother wrote on Facebook.
Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022, at 6:20 am
FedEx issues statement after driver arrested in connection with Athena Strand’s murder
In the notice to Fox 4FedEx said: “Words cannot describe our shock and sadness at the reports of this tragic event.
“First and foremost, we are with the family during this difficult time and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigative authorities. At this time, all further questions should be directed to law enforcement.”
Authorities initially said Mr. Horner was from Lake Worth County. Lake Worth City Police Chief said on Twitter that he lived near the lake itself.
A Facebook account believed to belong to the suspect identified him as a father of one, engaged to be married and the lead singer of a local band.
Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022, at 4:40 a.m
Everything we know about the FedEx executive accused of murdering Athena Strand
According to Wise County Jail records, Tanner Horner, 31, was booked at 2 a.m. Friday on one count each of aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping of a person under the age of 10.
His bond was set at $1.5 million.
According to reports, Mr Horner has worked as an Uber driver and posted about his work as a musician on social media.
Here’s everything we know about the case:
Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022, at 3:10 a.m
ICYMI: Timeline of Athena Strand’s Disappearance and Murder Investigation
Athena was last seen alive at her home in the 200 Block of County Rd 3573 in Paradise on Wednesday at approximately 5:40 p.m.
Her stepmother reported her missing about an hour later, sparking a massive search involving multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies using canine units and thermal imaging helicopters.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin announced at a press conference late Friday that Athena’s body had been found and FedEx driver Tanner Horner had been arrested.
The suspect allegedly confessed to abducting Athena and killing her about an hour later before disposing of her body, Akin told reporters.
Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022, at 1:40 a.m
Tanner Horner’s neighbors are ‘shocked’ by the allegations
Tanner Lynn Hornerneighbors have shared their shock and horror at the news that he is suspected of killing Athena Strand.
Neighbors said Mr. Horner lived with his grandmother and mother in a west Fort Worth neighborhood and that he would leave for several weeks before returning home.
Io DoddDecember 6, 2022, 12:07 AM
Athena Strand’s mother says her ‘princess’ was taken by a ‘brutal monster’
The heartbroken mother of Texas schoolgirl Athena Strand has described the suspect who allegedly confessed to her murder as a “sick, cruel monster”.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Athena’s mother, Maitlin Gandy, wrote that she was struggling to describe the “pain and absolute anger” she felt towards the alleged killer.
“My princess was taken from me by a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason,” she wrote alongside a home video of three-year-old Athena.
“Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet. I don’t want her to be that girl who was murdered and abandoned by a monster.
“I want everyone, every person in this world, to know that this is my baby and my child was taken from me.”
independent’Bevan Hurley has the story:
Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022, 12:05 AM