FedEx driver accused of kidnapping, killing Athena Strand charged with capital murder
02/23/2023 2:28 pm PST
WISE COUNTY, Texas (TCD) -- Prosecutors in Texas are seeking the death penalty in the case of a 31-year-old FedEx driver who allegedly kidnapped and killed a 7-year-old girl around the holidays.
Athena Strand was last seen Nov. 30, 2022, at approximately 5:45 p.m. at her home on the 200 block of County Road 3573. Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin announced the next day that investigators found her body and identified Tanner Horner as the suspect.
Akin said at the news briefing Dec. 1 that investigators learned Horner, who worked as a FedEx driver, made a stop at Athena's home around the time she went missing.
According to the affidavit, Horner told investigators he "accidentally hit" Athena with his truck while backing up. She was reportedly not badly injured by the car, but he "panicked and put Athena in the van."
Athena allegedly said she was going to tell her father about Horner bumping into her with his truck, so he "attempted to break Athena's neck to kill her."
Horner told investigators that "did not work," so he strangled her.
Video from inside the truck reportedly showed Horner inside the van with Athena.
According to NBC DFW, Athena's mom said she ordered "You Can Be Anything" Barbies for the 7-year-old girl, which Horner dropped off the day Athena was killed.
WFAA-TV reports the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office noted Athena died from blunt force injuries to the head and neck, and there was also evidence of strangulation and smothering.
Horner was officially indicted Feb. 16 on charges of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder of a person less than 10 years of age.
The Wise County District Attorney's Office reportedly filed paperwork this week to push for the death penalty if Horner is convicted. He's currently being held in the Wise County Jail on $1.5 million bond.
- Wise County DA to seek death penalty against Tanner Horner, man accused of killing Athena Strand - WFAA
- FedEx driver arrested after missing 7-year-old Athena Strand is found dead, 12/5/2022 - TCD
- Warrant of Arrest, State of Texas vs. Tanner Lynn Horner
- Athena Strand found dead after being kidnapped by FexEX driver, 12/2/2022 - KDFW
- FedEx Driver Hit Girl With Truck, Strangled Her After She Said She'd Tell Her Dad: Affidavit, 12/8/2022 - NBC DFW
- Wise County Jail inmate information
- State of Texas vs. Tanner Lynn Horner
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