Mom of girl, 7, 'kidnapped and killed by FedEx driver' shares heart-wrenching tribute to her 'princess'

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By stefan armitage

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The mom of a girl who police believe was kidnapped and killed by a FedEx driver has shared an agonizing tribute to her late daughter.

On Friday, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin announced that the body of seven-year-old Athena Strand was found southeast of the city of Boyd, roughly 11 miles away from her father's home.

As reported by NBC News, Athena Strand was reported missing from her father's Paradise home on Wednesday evening (roughly 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth). The news of the girl's disappearance prompted a community-wide search involving approximately 200 volunteers from the area.

"We knew early on in the investigation that there had been a FedEx driver, made a delivery in front of the house, about the same time that little Athena, 7-year-old Athena, came up missing," Akin told reporters.

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Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin has confirmed that the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand has been found. Credit: Facebook

The sheriff then revealed that 31-year-old FedEx contract driver Tanner Lynn Horner has been arrested on the charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

Officials have revealed that Horner - of Lake Worth, Texas - had delivered a package to the girl's home around the time she went missing.

NBC DFW has reported that 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner is facing aggravated kidnapping and capital murder charges after confessing to killing Athena.

Now, Athena's grieving mom, Maitlyn Gandy, has taken to social media to pay tribute to her "princess".

After the news broke that Athena had been found dead, Gandy started to flood her Facebook page with dozens of pictures and videos of her daughter.

"I want the world to know my baby, my first baby, my first true love, the reason I breathe," she writes. "I love my daughter beyond words and I will always love her."

The mother's post continues: "I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel. Missing her doesn’t cover how I feel. My daughters name is Athena Presley Monroe Strand, which she would happily announce to anyone listening, and anyone not listening she would make listen.

"My princess was taken from me from a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason.

"Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet. I don’t want her to be the girl known as the one murdered and discarded by a monster. I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me."

"I want everyone to know her face and her voice and just how wonderful of a person she is," the mom concludes.

In another post, Gandy listed her late daughter's favorite things - noting that her "favorite color is pink. She loves to dress up as the princess we all know she is. When she grows up, she wants to be a Viking princess".

"Athena is loved by mommy and daddy, and all of her sisters, many many aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents," the mom adds.

Finally, mentioning the upcoming case into her daughter's death, Gandy wrote: "She no longer has a voice but I will be the best voice I can as a mother for her and I will not stop."

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Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin speaking to reporters on Friday evening. Credit: YouTube/WFAA

During his press conference on Friday, Akin did not state the exact location where the child's body was found, nor did he provide any motive or cause of death. It has been reported that Athena's body was located following a tip that investigators had received earlier in the day.

Horner is currently being held on $1.5 million bail at Wise County Jail.

FedEx is reportedly cooperating fully with investigators.

As well as the hundreds of volunteers, the FBI, Texas Rangers Division, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the US Marshals Service all contributed to the search and investigation.

Our thoughts continue to go out to everybody affected by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: Facebook

Mom of girl, 7, 'kidnapped and killed by FedEx driver' shares heart-wrenching tribute to her 'princess'

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

The mom of a girl who police believe was kidnapped and killed by a FedEx driver has shared an agonizing tribute to her late daughter.

On Friday, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin announced that the body of seven-year-old Athena Strand was found southeast of the city of Boyd, roughly 11 miles away from her father's home.

As reported by NBC News, Athena Strand was reported missing from her father's Paradise home on Wednesday evening (roughly 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth). The news of the girl's disappearance prompted a community-wide search involving approximately 200 volunteers from the area.

"We knew early on in the investigation that there had been a FedEx driver, made a delivery in front of the house, about the same time that little Athena, 7-year-old Athena, came up missing," Akin told reporters.

size-large wp-image-1263181542
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin has confirmed that the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand has been found. Credit: Facebook

The sheriff then revealed that 31-year-old FedEx contract driver Tanner Lynn Horner has been arrested on the charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

Officials have revealed that Horner - of Lake Worth, Texas - had delivered a package to the girl's home around the time she went missing.

NBC DFW has reported that 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner is facing aggravated kidnapping and capital murder charges after confessing to killing Athena.

Now, Athena's grieving mom, Maitlyn Gandy, has taken to social media to pay tribute to her "princess".

After the news broke that Athena had been found dead, Gandy started to flood her Facebook page with dozens of pictures and videos of her daughter.

"I want the world to know my baby, my first baby, my first true love, the reason I breathe," she writes. "I love my daughter beyond words and I will always love her."

The mother's post continues: "I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel. Missing her doesn’t cover how I feel. My daughters name is Athena Presley Monroe Strand, which she would happily announce to anyone listening, and anyone not listening she would make listen.

"My princess was taken from me from a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason.

"Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet. I don’t want her to be the girl known as the one murdered and discarded by a monster. I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me."

"I want everyone to know her face and her voice and just how wonderful of a person she is," the mom concludes.

In another post, Gandy listed her late daughter's favorite things - noting that her "favorite color is pink. She loves to dress up as the princess we all know she is. When she grows up, she wants to be a Viking princess".

"Athena is loved by mommy and daddy, and all of her sisters, many many aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents," the mom adds.

Finally, mentioning the upcoming case into her daughter's death, Gandy wrote: "She no longer has a voice but I will be the best voice I can as a mother for her and I will not stop."

size-large wp-image-1263181543
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin speaking to reporters on Friday evening. Credit: YouTube/WFAA

During his press conference on Friday, Akin did not state the exact location where the child's body was found, nor did he provide any motive or cause of death. It has been reported that Athena's body was located following a tip that investigators had received earlier in the day.

Horner is currently being held on $1.5 million bail at Wise County Jail.

FedEx is reportedly cooperating fully with investigators.

As well as the hundreds of volunteers, the FBI, Texas Rangers Division, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the US Marshals Service all contributed to the search and investigation.

Our thoughts continue to go out to everybody affected by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: Facebook