WISE COUNTY, Texas — Athena Strand will be laid to rest in a private funeral service Friday, and her mother told reporters Athena will be cremated.
"She will come home in an urn," Maitlyn Gandy said in tears. "Because I'm not anywhere close to letting my baby go."
Athena's funeral comes just one day after authorities released her accused killer's arrest warrant. It revealed now-former FedEx contract driver Tanner Horner told investigators that he was dropping off a package to Athena's home when he accidentally hit her.
She was not seriously injured, Horner told investigators, but he panicked and put her in the van, the warrant said. Athena was alive and alert, and even told him her name, Horner said, according to the warrant.
But Horner strangled her, he confessed, worried Athena would tell her dad about being hit, the warrant said.
"I will never see her bright blue smile or her eyes again," Gandy cried one day before her daughter's funeral. "I will never hear her say, 'I love you mommy.' I will never be able to do her hair again or hold her while she sleeps.'"
Gandy also revealed the package Horner was there to drop off was a set of "you can be anything" Barbie's. It was a Christmas present for Athena.
Gandy's legal team has launched its own investigation, and her attorneys are asking anyone who has worked for FedEx or the contracting company, or who knew Horner, to contact them.
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