FedEx driver Tanner Lynn Horner told Texas police that he strangled 7-year-old Athena Strand to death because he was afraid she would tell her father that he hit her with his truck, according to an arrest warrant.
Horner admitted last week that he grabbed the young girl from Paradise Yard and threw her into the truck in a panic after she accidentally rear-ended the van.
Taken by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram states.
Athena was not seriously injured in the Nov. 30 accident, but Horner, fearing the consequences, allegedly decided to kill her, the report said.
He told police he tried to break her neck before strangling her with his bare hands in a FedEx truck, according to an arrest warrant.
Horner dumped her body in the Trinity River near Boyd, about 10 miles from her Paradise home.
Athena Strand was strangled to death by Tanner Horner, who was abducted on November 30. Facebook / Maitlin Presley Gandhi
Athena Strand’s body was found on the banks of the Trinity River, about 10 miles from her home. Family distribution
Video from a camera inside the van shows Athena inside as Horner talks to her and eventually kills her, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office said.
A 31-year-old FedEx driver led police to Athena’s body two days after her stepmother reported her missing.
Police tracked down Horner after discovering he had delivered a package to the girl’s home shortly before she disappeared.
The delivery was Athena’s Christmas present — a set of Barbie dolls called the “You Can Be Anything” collection — her mother, Maitlin Gandy, announced Thursday.
Maitlin Gandy delivers a statement on the death of Anna Strand at the Wise County Courthouse on December 8, 2022 in Decatur, Texas. AP
“Athena was denied the opportunity to grow up to be what she wanted to be. And this gift of innocence and love is a gift she will never receive,” Gandhi said.
“It stole my heart to see him grow up to be someone everyone should trust. Just do one simple task: hand over the Christmas present and leave.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin
This was reported by WFAA on Wednesday he is asking the district attorney to seek the death penalty for Horner.
Horner was charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping and is being held on $1.5 million bail.
Autopsy results from the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office are pending.