A FedEx driver has been taken into custody and charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping after the body of missing seven-year-old Athena Strand was found in Wise County. The little girl's body was found about six miles from her home.
The sherrif Lane Akin said the driver, identified by police as Tanner Lynn Horner is being held at the Wise County Jail.
"Horner had dropped off a package at the home at around the time the child was abducted. She was likely abducted from her driveway, about 200 yards away from the house, around 6 pm on Wednesday evening."
The child was last seen on County Road 3573 in Paradise, Texas, dressed in a grey long-sleeve shirt with white flowers, blue jeans with white flowers on the pockets and brown boots.
Police believe Athena reportedly left home after an argument with her stepmother who spent an hour searching for the girl before calling the sheriff's office. The child's father was on a deer hunting trip in south Texas at the time of the incident.
Suspect Gave Two False Locations
Horner allegedly gave detectives at least two false locations, including an area of CR 4599 that was taped off by police on Friday afternoon, before leading them to Athena's body. The investigators are yet to establish a motive for the crime.
"The investigation team were able to determine that the driver abducted Athena and from the investigative standpoint, digitally as well as good old interviews, we think Athena died within just the very hour or so after her departure from her home," the sheriff said. "This driver is a contract driver...he is from Lake Worth."
Akin added that they really can't get into the content of the confession but highlighted that they have a confession. "It's still very, very early but we wanted to make sure that we get the information out." He added that this has been one of the toughest investigations he has been involved in. "Anytime there's a child that dies, it just hits you in the heart. You compare that child to your own children when they were at that age."
The sheriff said Athena's family is devastated and angry over what happened. Their precious child was abruptly taken from their lives.