Body of 7-year-old Texas girl found, FedEx driver arrested

The body of 7-year-old Athena Strand was found Friday, two days after she was reported...
The body of 7-year-old Athena Strand was found Friday, two days after she was reported missing. (Texas Department of Public Safety)(Texas DPS)
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 2:40 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2022 at 2:14 PM CST

PARADISE, Texas (AP) — A 7-year-old Texas girl has been found dead, two days after being reported missing, and a FedEx delivery driver arrested in her death, authorities said.

The body of Athena Strand was found Friday and Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, was arrested on kidnapping and murder charges after confessing to killing the girl and telling authorities where to find her body, according to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.

Horner remained jailed Saturday on $1.5 million bond. Jail records did not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and currently...
Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and currently being held at the Wise County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.(Wise County Sheriff's Office via CNN Newsource)

Akin said during a late Friday news conference that a tip led authorities to Horner, who the sheriff said had made a delivery to the girl’s home shortly before she disappeared.

Horner did not know the girl’s family, according to Akin, who declined to discuss a motive for the crime.

“We really can’t get into the content of the confession, but I will say we have a confession” from Horner, Akin said.

The girl’s stepmother had reported her missing on Wednesday from the family home near Paradise on the northwestern outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Her body was found near the town of Boyd, about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) southeast of Paradise, a town of about 475 people, Akin said.

James Dwyer, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office, said FedEx cooperated with investigators.

FedEx said in a statement that it is working with law enforcement agencies investigating the case.

“Our thoughts are with the family of Athena Strand during this most difficult time,” according to the statement. “Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow surrounding this tragic event.”