PARADISE, Texas — On Friday night, Wise County officials gave the heartbreaking update that 7-year-old Athena Strand, who had been missing since Wednesday, Nov. 30 and had an AMBER Alert issued on the morning of Dec. 1, was found dead less than 10 miles from her home.
In a press conference Friday night, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Strand's body had been found roughly 6 miles southeast of Boyd and a suspect was in custody.
Akin said the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, confessed to police to abducting and killing the 7-year-old girl.
Who is Tanner Horner?
Horner was working as a contract FedEx truck driver, had been delivering a package to Strand's family home when she was allegedly abducted. Records show he is from Fort Worth, which is about 30 miles south of where Strand's body was found.
FBI Acting Agent in Charge Jim Dwyer said authorities believe Strand died only about an hour after being abducted based on digital evidence and statements gathered while interviewing Horner.
They said they had known that a FedEx driver visited the house the day Strand went missing but that the investigation pointed to Horner after a tip and good police work.
Horner is the lone suspect authorities believe responsible in the case, Akin said.
He did not have any relation or connection to the family.
Records showed Horner was also, at times, an Uber driver, but had not driven using the Uber app in months, according to a company spokesperson. This incident is not connected to the Uber platform, the company said. The spokesperson also said Horner has been banned from the platform.
Horner is being charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. He is booked into the Wise County Jail and his bond at this time is $1.5 million.
FedEx released the following statement to ABC News on Saturday:
“Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow at the reports surrounding this tragic event. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities. At this time, any further questions should be directed to law enforcement.”
FedEx also released this statement on Twitter on Saturday morning:
"Our thoughts are with the family of Athena Strand during this most difficult time. Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow surrounding this tragic event. We continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities."
Athena Strand's mother, Maitlyn Gandy, shared this GoFundMe fundraiser with WFAA.
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