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Athena Strand’s grandfather says he ‘forgives’ seven-year-old’s killer – live


The devastated grandfather of murdered seven-year-old Athena Strand has said that he forgives the “psycho” FedEx driver accused of abducting and killing her – but also wishes he could have “5 minutes alone in a cell” with the suspect.

Mark Strand broke his silence in a heartbreaking Facebook post on Sunday after his granddaughter’s body was discovered around six miles from her home in Paradise, Texas.

Athena vanished from her home on Wednesday and an Amber Alert was issued the next day. Her body was discovered on Friday.

Police said that Tanner Lynn Horner, a 31-year-old FedEx truck driver, had confessed to snatching the little girl before killing her within an hour of her abduction. He is facing charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

No motive has been given and Mr Horner is not believed to have any connection to the little girl.

Following his arrest, the aspiring musician’s chilling song lyrics have emerged: “Sometimes I hear her cries. Silence is the dirtiest trick in life. If im so empty then why do I feel alive.”

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Mother says her ‘princess’ was taken by a ‘cruel monster’

The heartbroken mother of Texas schoolgirl Athena Strand has described the suspect who allegedly confessed to her murder as a “sick, cruel monster” in a heartbreaking Facebook post.

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 11:15

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Suspect taken into custody on Friday

The Wise County sheriff announced on Friday that a FedEx driver had been taken into custody.

The driver, identified by police as 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner is being held at the Wise County Jail on charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 09:15

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Heartbroken community mourns loss

The First Baptist Church of Cottondale was a gathering place for volunteers and Athena’s family while the search for her was carried out this week. A vigil will be held at the church on Tuesday.

Pastor Charles Pugh spoke with CBS News.

“Your heart goes out to the parents. It’s just so random it seems like, that it happened that way,” he said.

When the news broke that Athena had been found dead, Pugh was with her parents.

“He’s just kind of numb I think,” said Pugh of her dad’s reaction. “Frustration, but he had a good spirit.”

At Friday night’s press conference, Sheriff Lane Akin was visibly emotional.

“It hurts our hearts to know that child died,” he said, “This community does not like losing our children and we can see it because of all the people who came out and helped us throughout this ordeal.”

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 07:15

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Devastating news announced on Friday evening

After two days of searching, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin delivered the devastating news that Athena’s body had been found at a Friday evening news conference.

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 05:15

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What happened on the day Athena disappeared

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office says that seven-year-old Athena Strand went to school and returned to her home in Paradise, Texas at approximately 4.30pm on Wednesday.

Her father had left his wife and daughter at home to go hunting, and Athena and her stepmother allegedly got into an argument after she arrived home from school.

“We know that there was a little bit of an argument between her and her step-mom last night but it isn’t anything unusual,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said. “There was that argument, then step-mom went to fix dinner, came back to get Athena, and Athena wasn’t in her room.”

At approximately 6.40pm Athena’s stepmother called 911 when she realised that the little girl was not in her bedroom nor anywhere else in the house after spending an hour looking for her.

Police issued an AMBER Alert and the search for Athena began. Some 200 volunteers from the local community joined law enforcement officers in the search overnight, through Thursday, and into Friday.

Athena’s body was found approximately 11 miles away from her home.

“It hurts our hearts to know that child died,” Sheriff Akin said during a press conference on Friday evening. “It’s one of the toughest investigations that I’ve been involved in because it’s a child. And anytime there’s a child that dies, it just hits you in your heart.”

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 03:15

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Suspect expected in court on Monday

Tanner Horner is expected in court on Monday for a detention hearing.

He was booked into Wise County Jail at 2am on Friday on counts of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder of a person under the age of 10.

His bond is set at $1.5m.

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 01:15

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Everything we know about Tanner Horner

According to Wise County Jail records, Tanner Horner was booked at 2am on Friday on one count of capital murder of a person under 10 and aggravated kidnapping. His bond was set at $1.5m.

Oliver O’Connell5 December 2022 00:15

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Video shows investigators surrounding FedEx truck

Oliver O’Connell4 December 2022 23:15

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Mother says her ‘princess’ was taken by a ‘cruel monster’

The heartbroken mother of Texas schoolgirl Athena Strand has described the suspect who allegedly confessed to her murder as a “sick, cruel monster” in a heartbreaking Facebook post.

Oliver O’Connell4 December 2022 22:15

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Local school districts to wear pink in show of support

Area school districts will wear pink in support of Athena Strand, her family and the local community.

Oliver O’Connell4 December 2022 21:30


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