Texas girl, 7, who went missing is found dead; FedEx driver arrested for murder, kidnapping

News & Politics

Authorities said a 7-year-old Texas girl who went missing from her home earlier this week was found dead Friday evening, CBS News reported, adding that a FedEx driver has been arrested for murder and kidnapping.

What are the details?

The network, citing KTVT-TV, said Athena Strand disappeared Wednesday evening from her father’s home in Paradise — a city with only 475 residents just over an hour northwest of Dallas.

A huge multiagency search ensued involving hundreds of volunteers, CBS News said.

Athena’s body was located after a tip investigators received earlier Friday, the network said, citing Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.

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Her cause of death was not released, CBS News said, adding that the exact location where her body was found was not disclosed, either. Akin did say her body was located southeast of the Wise County town of Boyd, the network added.

The suspect was identified as 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, CBS News said, adding that Akin said the suspect was taken into custody Friday on charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping,

Akin added that Horner was a FedEx contract driver who delivered a package to Strand’s home about when she disappeared, the network reported.

“We knew early on in the investigation that there had been a FedEx driver [who] made a delivery in front of the house about the same time that little Athena, 7-year-old Athena, came up missing,” Akin said, according to CBS News.

Investigators believe Strand died “within the very hour or so after her departure from her home,” Akin added, according to the network.

The sheriff also said Horner confessed to the crime and that investigators obtained “digital evidence,” CBS News reported, adding that Akin didn’t elaborate.

“We do have a confession,” the sheriff said, according to the network.

Horner, of Lake Worth, Texas, is being held on $1.5 million bail, CBS News noted.

The sheriff’s office said it received a call from Athena’s stepmother on the evening of the girl’s disappearance reporting her missing after the two had an argument while her father wasn’t home, KTVT reported. Police said the stepmother spent “about an hour” looking for Athena before contacting the sheriff’s office, the station added.

Akin told CBS News that FedEx cooperated with investigators.

“Our thoughts are with the family of Athena Strand during this most difficult time. Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow surrounding this tragic event,” FedEx said in a Saturday statement. “We continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities.”

[embedded content]Athena Strand: Suspect in 7-year-old girl’s death held on $1.5 million bondyoutu.be

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