A horrific story coming out of Texas as the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand was found on Friday night. Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin broke the news at a press conference Friday night. The monstrous suspect is in custody.
Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, confessed to police to abducting and killing Athena on Wednesday afternoon.
Horner was working as a contract FedEx truck driver and had been delivering a package to Athena’s family home at the time the abduction allegedly occurred.
Sheriff revealed the girls body was found 10 miles from where she was kidnapped.
Investigators revealed she likely died “within an hour” of being kidnapped from where she lived in Paradise, Texas.
Police revealed how digital evidence together with interviews suggest the little girl did not live more than an hour after being snatched.
Wise County Authorities acted in a tip which led to this search of a Fed Ex Truck driven by 31yo Tanner Lynn Horner now charged in abduction & murder of 7yo Athena Strand who went missing 2 days ago. (Video: Bobby Dean)
Homer was charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and is somehow allowed to have a bond at $1.5 million.
“We’re just sad it didn’t end the way that we hoped that it would end,” Sheriff Lane Akin said during a Friday night press conference.
Horner is the only suspect authorities believe is responsible in the case, Akin said. He did not have any previous connection to the family. According to the Wise County Sheriff’s office, the child was dropped off at home school at her home in Paradise at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
At some point afterwards, the youngster was outsider her home after an argument with her step-mother. At the same time, Horner was delivering a FedEx package to her house.
When Athena didn’t come back inside and could not be found in her bedroom, her step-mom reported her missing to police around 6.40pm.
Police believe the girl was likely abducted from her driveway, just 200 yards away from the safety of her home.
Police only able to connect the dots between Athena’s disappearance and Horner’s delivery route following a tip off, with the FBI, Texas Rangers and Wise County Sheriff’s Offices working in tandem to bring the case to a speedy yet tragic end, although two false leads sent police looking in the wrong places for the girl.
The youngster’s body was eventually found 10 miles away from her home.
The County Sheriff paid tribute to locals that had assisted with the investigation which saw hundreds of volunteers coming out to help with a massive search.
“This community does not like losing our children and we could see it because of all the people who came out and helped us throughout this ordeal,” Akin said.
“It’s one of the toughest investigations that I’ve been involved in because it’s a child, and anytime there’s a child dies, it hits you in your heart. You compare that child to your own children when they were at that age”, he added.
Asked about the family’s reaction to the girl’s death: ‘They’re devastated,’ Akin said.
“They’re angry because of what happened — a precious child taken from their lives.”
FedEx released a statement on Friday night expressing their condolences to the family: “Words cannot describe our shock at the reports surrounding this tragic event. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time.”
Thanks to our friends at The Daily Mail for contributing to this article.
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