On November 20, 2022, seven-year-old Athena Strand went missing from her home in Paradise, Texas, after a FedEx driver named Tanner Horner had delivered packages there. Two days later, Horner was arrested and charged with kidnapping and murdering Athena.
According to investigators, Horner claimed that he accidentally hit the young girl with his truck, and fearing her father’s reaction, he then strangled her with his bare hands and dumped her body. On Thursday, he was indicted by a Wise County grand jury on two charges of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder of a person under 10.
Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, expressed her gratitude to the grand jury for their role in the process, acknowledging the difficult circumstances of hearing the facts and circumstances of her daughter’s kidnapping and murder. Gandy also emphasized that Horner’s indictment is just the beginning of a long road through the justice system.
Horner had delivered a Christmas gift from Athena’s mother to her father’s home, which was a “You Can Be Anything” Barbie doll, prior to the kidnapping. If convicted of capital murder, Horner could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
In addition to the charges related to Athena’s murder, Horner is also facing unrelated charges of sexual assault of a child dating back to 2013. He is currently being held in Wise County Jail on a bond of $1.56 million. Gandy urged people to hug their loved ones and take the time to remember that no one is promised another day.