A rural Wise County community is mourning the loss of 7-year-old Athena Strand. Her stepmother initially reported her missing on Wednesday evening. According to the Wise County Sheriff’s office, Athena left the house herself. Her body was discovered last night, 6 miles away from her home, after two days of searching. Tanner Horner, a contracted driver for FedEx, was arrested. He is said to have confessed to kidnapping Athena. Come learn everything you need to know about Athena Strand murdered, including her age, parents, kidnapped, killer Tanner Lynn Horner, and other details:
Who was 7-year-old Athena Strand? Before she was murdered, where did she live? Father, Stepmother, School
Athena Strand, 7, was her parents’ princess. Her mother’s name was Maitlyn Gandy who works as Minimum Data Set Coordinator at Meridian Nursing Home, and her father’s name is still unknown. Their parents divorced shortly after Athena was born, and Gandy has sole custody of her daughter. Maitlyn, her mother, agreed to let her spend the fall semester with her father and stepmother. She was visiting her father, stepmother, and two younger sisters when she was kidnapped. Athena had been in Oklahoma for school.
Athena went missing Wednesday afternoon after leaving home following an argument with her stepmother. Her father was out of town on a hunting trip.
Strand’s mother, Maitlyn Presley Gandy, said her daughter was taken from her by “a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday morning.
“I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel. Missing her doesn’t cover how I feel,” Gandy said in the post accompanying a video of Athena, then age 3. “I want the world to know my baby, my first baby, my first true love, the reason I breathe.”
“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 murdered and discarded by a monster,” she added. “I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby, and my baby was taken from me. I want everyone to know her face and voice and how wonderful of a person she is.”
What happened with Athena Strand? How did Athena Strand get kidnapped?
According to Fox 4, Athena went missing Wednesday afternoon after leaving home following an argument with her stepmother. When Athena got off the bus around 4:15 p.m. and left home sometime before 5:15 p.m. when the stepmother noticed she was missing.
After a massive multi-agency search, her body was discovered Friday evening in Boyd, about 50 miles northwest of Fort Worth. Investigators believe Athena died “within an hour or so of leaving home.”
Where was Athena Strand’s body found?
Over 200 volunteers and dozens of law enforcement personnel assisted in the search. They combed the neighborhood for two days until a law enforcement body around 7 or 8 p.m. on Friday southeast of Boyd, about seven miles from her parent’s home. On Wednesday, the search for the girl, Athena Strand, began in Paradise, Texas, about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth. The search involved nearly 200 volunteers, numerous law enforcement agencies, dogs, and a helicopter equipped with thermal imaging.
Authorities did not comment on whether the girl had been sexually assaulted. Athena’s cause of death remains under investigation, and her body was transferred to the medical examiner’s office Friday, Akin said.
A candlelight memorial service is planned for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Cottondale’s First Baptist Church. It can be found at 145 CR 3355 in Paradise, Texas.
Who is Tanner Lynn Horner, charged with Athena Strand’s kidnap and murder? His wiki, parents, girlfriend
Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, is from Lake Worth. He has been charged in the kidnapping and death of 7-year-old Athena Strand. He has no relation or connection to Athena’s family. Horner is a contract driver for FedEx and is being held at Wise County Jail on a $1.5 million bond, Akin said.
In a statement on Twitter, FedEx said it cooperated with the authorities.
“Our thoughts are with the family of Athena Strand during this most difficult time,” the statement said. “Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow surrounding this tragic event.”