Athena Strand’s mother revealed Thursday what was inside a package delivered by the killer-turned-killer of a 7-year-old girl abducted from her father’s Texas home by a FedEx driver.
“On November 30th, a FedEx delivery person drove to Athena’s father’s property to deliver a package that was supposed to be a Christmas present for our daughter. This is the package and it’s the first time I’ve seen it,” he said. an emotional Maitlin Gandy said at a news conference outside the Wise County Courthouse.
On display was a package of six Barbie dolls. The outside is emblazoned with the puppeteer’s slogan ‘You can be anything’. The outer box had the Walmart logo on it.
“Athena was denied the opportunity to grow up to be whatever she wanted to be,” said Gandhi, who dyed her hair pink in her daughter’s honor. “And this gift of innocence and love she will never take. Athena’s favorite holiday was Christmas, as it is for many children everywhere. The joy Athena gave to her family and the joy she felt at Christmas we never feel. here again.”
ATHINA STRAND’S BOYFRIEND SAYS FORGIVING FEDEX DRIVER ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING, KILLING 7-YEAR-OLD.
Tanner Lynn Horner, a 30-year-old contract driver for FedEx, is charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping in connection with Strand’s death. Horner, a former Uber driver who was reportedly banned from the platform, was being held on $1.5 million bail Saturday.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said the death penalty will be sought.
Horner allegedly admitted to robbing Strand on Dec. 2 while delivering a package to her father’s home in Paradise, Texas.
Two days later, the girl’s body was found 10 miles from her father’s property. The suspect reportedly did not know the victim or the girl’s family.
“That delivery driver admitted to kidnapping and killing my innocent, free-spirited 7-year-old daughter,” Gandhi said Thursday. “At the time Athena was kidnapped, she was staying with her stepmother and father in Paradise, Texas, doing what children do, playing on her father’s property. That’s where she grew up and played. . the same land for 20. or many years afterwards, he and his brothers and all his friends were safe.”
“I had to bring Athena back home to Oklahoma after Christmas break,” said the grieving mother through tears. “Now Athena will be cremated instead and she’ll come home in an urn because I’m not even ready to let my child go. I’ll never see her blue eyes or her charming smile again. I’ll never be I can’t. She can hear him say, “I love you, mommy.” I’ll never be able to do her hair again or hold her while she sleeps. I’m the person everyone needs to believe in. I’m dying to watch her grow up. growled, just to do one simple task: deliver the Christmas present and leave.”
“Tomorrow will be the last time I see my child,” said Gandhi. “Tomorrow, when it’s quiet, Athena’s family, including her three young sisters, will begin the journey of all firsts without her. Her sister’s third birthday, then my 27th, our Christmas tradition, the first time in seven years that Santa and I didn’t see or hear the excitement of sister opening her presents.
“I have felt your prayers, read your messages and letters, and seen your pink color everywhere,” Gandhi said of the support from the community and law enforcement. “I want everyone to know Athena. She was a wonderful girl who loved dancing, singing and all animals, dogs, cats, horses, lizards and chinchillas. She loved school and all her first grade friends. grappling with his senseless murder.”
Gandhi’s lawyers vowed to investigate the girl’s murder and to “hold accountable any person or corporation whose action or inaction prevented the tragic death of this little girl.”
“A monster tried to take Athens’ vote, but we are its vote,” Gandhi said on Thursday. “Scrutiny and recruiting rules need to be put in place so monsters in delivery uniforms don’t show up on our children’s doorsteps. Please help keep Athena’s light on.”