Athena Strand – latest updates: Instagram posts of suspect Tanner Horner appear as motive for kidnapping and murder unclear

The devastated grandfather of seven-year-old Athena Strand says he forgives the ‘psycho’ FedEx driver accused of abducting and killing her – but also wishes he could have ‘5 minutes alone in a cell’ with the suspect.

Mark Strand broke his silence in a heartbreaking Facebook post on Sunday after his granddaughter’s body was discovered about six miles from her home in Paradise, Texas.

Athena disappeared from her home on Wednesday and an Amber Alert was issued the following day. His body was discovered on Friday.

Police say Tanner Lynn Horner, a 31-year-old FedEx truck driver, confessed to snatching the little girl before killing her less than an hour after she was abducted. He faces charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

No reason was given and Mr Horner is said to have no connection to the little girl.

After his arrest, the chilling lyrics of the aspiring musician’s song emerged: “Sometimes I hear him cry. Silence is the dirtiest trick of life. If I’m so empty, why do I feel alive?

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Everything we know about the FedEx driver charged with the murder of Athena Strand

Tanner Horner, 31, was arrested at 2 a.m. Friday morning on charges of aggravated murder of a person under the age of 10 and aggravated kidnapping, according to Wise County Jail records.

His bail was set at $1.5 million.

Mr Horner worked as an Uber driver, according to reports, and posted on social media about his status as a musician.

Here’s everything we know about the case:

Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022 03:10

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ICYMI: A timeline of the disappearance of Athena’s Strand and the murder investigation

Athena was last seen alive at her home at 200 Block of County Rd 3573 in Paradise around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Her mother-in-law reported her missing about an hour later, sparking a massive search involving multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that used canine units and thermal imaging helicopters.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin announced at a late night news conference Friday that Athena’s body had been found and a FedEx driver, Tanner Horner, had been arrested.

The suspect allegedly confessed to abducting Athena and murdering her about an hour later before disposing of her body, Mr Akin told reporters.

Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022 01:40

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Tanner Horner’s neighbors ‘shocked’ by accusations

Tanner Lynn HornerNeighbors shared their shock and horror upon learning that he is suspected of killing Athena Strand.

Neighbors said Mr Horner lived with his grandmother and mother in Fort Worth’s West End and would be away for weeks before returning home.

Io DoddsDecember 6, 2022 12:07 a.m.

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Athena Strand’s mother says her ‘princess’ was taken by a ‘cruel monster’

The heartbroken mother of Texas schoolgirl Athena Strand has described the suspect who allegedly confessed to her murder as a ‘sick, cruel freak’.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, wrote that she struggled to describe the “absolute pain and anger” she felt towards the suspected killer.

“My princess was taken from me by a sick and cruel monster for no reason,” she wrote, along with 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 the girl known as the one who was murdered and rejected by a monster.

“I want everyone to know, every person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me.”

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has the story:

Andrea BlancoDecember 6, 2022 12:05 a.m.

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The sheriff describes the investigation as “one of the most difficult”

At a Friday night press conference, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin announced that authorities had arrested a FedEx contracted driver.

Investigators had determined that Tanner Horner, 31, had made a deposit near the family home around the time Athena disappeared.

Mr Akin said the driver allegedly confessed to taking Athena and showed them where her body could be found, in a ditch about 10km from Paradise.

They believed she was dead within an hour of her abduction, but did not provide further details on how she was killed.

“This is one of the most difficult investigations I have been involved in because he is a child,” Mr. Akin said at the press conference, according to Fox4.

“Every time a child dies, it strikes your heart.”

Andrea BlancoDecember 5, 2022 10:40 p.m.

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Chilling song lyrics written by a suspect accused of Athena’s murder

Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, is accused of snatching baby Athena from her home in Paradise, Texas, before killing her and dumping her body in a ditch about six miles away. Police said he confessed to the heinous crime and was charged with capital murder and kidnapping.

After his arrest, the aspiring musician’s somber lyrics to songs and disturbing social media posts surfaced.

In a December 2014 Instagram post, he wrote, “Sometimes I hear her cry. Silence is the dirtiest trick of life. If I’m so empty, why do I feel alive?

The IndependentRachel Sharp has the full story:

Andrea BlancoDecember 5, 2022 9:14 p.m.

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Everything We Know About Tanner Horner, the FedEx Driver Accused of Abducting and Murdering Athena

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told reporters that the driver, Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, allegedly confessed to her abduction and murder.

Here’s everything we know about the suspect and the case:

Andrea BlancoDecember 5, 2022 8:09 p.m.

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Grieving mother shares heartbreaking video of murdered 7-year-old sister sobbing

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 suspect Tanner Lynn Horner is now charged with her abduction and murder.

Ms Gandy explained that the video of her other daughter sobbing uncontrollably for her “sissy” was taken days before Athena disappeared, when the seven-year-old was visiting her father in Texas. At the time, Ms Gandy said she assured the inconsolable girl that her sister would soon be back with them in Oklahoma.

“This video of [redacted] begging for his sissy was Sunday 11/27 when we thought sissy would only be gone for a few days. I kept telling her, ‘It’s ok, we’ll see a sissy soon’, not knowing how twisted our lives would be,’ Ms Gandy wrote.

The Independent to the story:

Andrea BlancoDecember 5, 2022 7:05 p.m.

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Athena Strand’s grandfather says he forgives ‘psycho’ FedEx driver accused of kidnapping and murdering her

The devastated grandfather of seven-year-old Athena Strand says 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 man that I am, is angry and I want 5 minutes alone in a cell with the psychopath who took our Athena from us, but there is a soft, gentle voice in the back of my head telling me Said I must forgive him,” he wrote.

Andrea BlancoDecember 5, 2022 6:23 p.m.

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The community wears pink to support Athena

Area school districts will be wearing pink to support Athena Strand, her family and the local community.

Athena’s mother’s Facebook page was also inundated with comments and photos of mothers and children across Texas and the country wearing pink in tribute to the seven-year-old girl killed on Wednesday.

“I put my baby girl in pink today for Athena. She said ‘my favorite color is pink too, we could have been friends’ I pray so hard for you. And I’m so sorry,” wrote a mother.

(Miatlyn Presley Worthy)

Andrea BlancoDecember 5, 2022 4:51 p.m.

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