FedEx driver charged with kidnapping, killing Texas girl, 7

Crime

This undated photo from Wise County Sheriff’s Office shows Tanner Lynn Horner. Horner, 31, was arrested Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, on kidnapping and murder charges after confessing to killing a 7-year-old Texas girl and telling authorities where to find her body, according to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin. The girl’s stepmother had reported her missing on Wednesday from the family home near Paradise, Texas. (Wise County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

(NewsNation) — A FedEx driver was arrested Friday in connection to the abduction and death of a 7-year-old girl from Wise County, Texas.

Authorities say Tanner Lynn Horner, a FedEx driver, is accused of kidnapping and killing Athena Strand after making a delivery to her house, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. As of Friday night, Horner, 31 was being held in the Wise County Jail on a $1.5 million bond. He’s been charged with the capital murder of a person under 10 and aggravated kidnapping.

Horner allegedly confessed to the crime, authorities said, though did not give a motive.

“It hurts our hearts to know that that child died, so much so that she is on her way now to the medical examiner’s office and there is a Texas Ranger in front of her and a Texas Ranger behind her,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said at a press conference late Friday night, according to NBC affiliate KXAS.

Strand was reported missing Wednesday. The girl’s stepmother looked for her for an hour before calling for help, triggering an AMBER Alert, according to NewsNation local affiliate WFLA.

A search for Strand went on for days, during which investigators learned Horner made a FedEx delivery to Strand’s home around the time she disappeared.

Akin said police think Strand died “within just the very hour or so after her departure from her home.”

Horner was located and taken into custody with help from FedEx and digital evidence, according to WFLA.

“I spent quite a bit of time with the family,” the sheriff said. “They’re devastated. They’re angry because of what happened. A precious child taken from their lives.”

In a statement per the Star-Telegram, FedEx said words cannot describe the company’s “shock and sorrow” at Strand’s death.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities,” the statement said. “At this time, any further questions should be directed to law enforcement.”

It was unclear on Saturday whether Horner had a lawyer to represent him.

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