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'We'll leave no stone unturned,' says attorney for Athena Strand's mother

Benson Varghese told WFAA Wednesday his office would investigate the 7-year-old's death to see who must be held responsible for what happened.

WISE COUNTY, Texas — Newly retained legal counsel for Athena Strand's mother told WFAA Wednesday night the little girl's death will be thoroughly investigated and that "any action inaction that led to the death of Strand is something that we are going to look into." 

Benson Varghese of Varghese Summersett in Fort Worth added, "we'll be doing our own thorough investigation to see who needs to be held responsible for what happened." 

Varghese's comments hint at an impending legal battle against the shipping giant FedEx based in Memphis. 

Wednesday marked one week since Strand was reported missing. 

At the time, investigators in Wise County feared she had been abducted or wandered off from her rural home in Paradise. 

More than 48 hours later, police revealed Strand had been abducted by a FedEx contract driver who dumped the little girl's body near Boyd after killing her.

Tanner Horner, 31, has since been charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. 

Sheriff Lane Akin revealed Wednesday Horner had been arraigned in the Wise County Jail early Saturday morning and that Horner remains in a single cell alone, away from booking. 

His arrest documents remain unavailable at this time. 

Strand's legacy has been cemented and amplified over the last 72 hours. 

Several vigils have been held, and North Texans have worn pink, the little girl's favorite color, to remember her. 

Strand's mother, Maitlyn Gandy, publicly spoke for the first time since the little girl's death on Tuesday night at a vigil outside First Baptist Church in Cottondale. 

During exhaustive search efforts, the church served as a makeshift command post for law enforcement, volunteers, and Strand's family. 

On Thursday, Strand will address the public again at 11 a.m. from the Wise County Courthouse. 

Varghese didn't say what would be announced but told WFAA his office is dedicated to Strand's family. 

"My role is to ensure that the family has all the care and attention they need right now," Varghese said. "We're not going to leave any stoned unturned." 

FedEx has publicly expressed condolences to Athena's family and said it continues cooperating with authorities regarding Horner's investigation. 

Sheriff Akin also said that the company aided in the investigation that led to Horner's arrest last week. 

But significant questions surround what the shipping company knew about Horner before he was hired as a contractor. 

Civil Attorney Mike Lyons, a partner at Lyons and Simmons, handles personal injury and wrongful death cases nationwide. His firm also has a track record of handling cases involving criminal misconduct by contractors hired by corporations. 

He's also squared off against FedEx in court before.

"Some questions will come up early in this case. Do they have policies or procedures that prescribe what their hiring practices are? Are they supposed to talk to former employers? Are they supposed to do a criminal background check? If so, what's the scope of that background check?" Lyons said. 

"Is there anything here that would shine a light on this person's criminal misconduct?" 

Horner doesn't have a criminal history in Wise or Tarrant Counties. 

Yet, Lyons said that doesn't mean there aren't red flags. 

"You don't generally graduate from being an ordinary civilian who is law-abiding to, one day, abducting a child and murdering them," Lyons said. 

"Usually, there are a few steps in between. My guess, there might be something in this person's past -- the question is whether or not reasonable diligence on the part of this company would have discovered it." 

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