delivery man suspectedOne 7-year-old girl from northern Texas told investigators he accidentally hit her with a van before strangling her, according to the arrest warrant.
The suspect, 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, told Wise County Sheriff’s Detectives that he was backing up a FedEx truck when he hit 7-year-old Athena Strand last Wednesday..
Horner told investigators that after he hit Strand, he panicked and let her into the truck, the arrest warrant reads. He also told police that Strand was not seriously injured after hitting her and that she was “alive” and “she was talking to him,” according to her warrant.
He told detectives he killed Strand “because he was going to tell his father about being hit by a FedEx truck,” the warrant says.
The warrant said Horner first tried to break Strand’s neck, but when that failed, he strangled her.
Strand was reported missing from her father and stepmother’s home in Paradise, Texas on November 30, leading to an extensive search. Two days later, according to the warrant, Horner took investigators to her body in the Wise County town of Boyd, about 10 miles from Paradise.
FedEx contract driver HornerWise County Sheriff’s Officers had previously reported it around the same time that Strand went missing.
At a press conference Thursday in Decatur, Texas, Strand’s mother, Maetrin Gandy, who lives in Oklahoma, said the delivery was Strand’s Christmas present.
“There was a ‘You Can Be Anything’ Barbie in the package,” Gundy told reporters. “Athena has been robbed of the opportunity to grow into what she wants to be, and this gift, commanded by her innocence and her love, is something she will never receive.”
Gundy also told Strand that he was supposed to be “going home to Oklahoma after the Christmas holidays.”
After Strand’s disappearance, investigators worked with Big Topspin, a contract company FedEx hired to deliver the packages, to determine “which van and driver made the delivery,” according to the warrant. .
The van was equipped with a camera, and the suspect captured footage of a girl in the van who matched Strand’s description, the warrant says.
When investigators found and interviewed Horner, he confessed to them that Strand was dead, the warrant said.
Horner, of Lake Worth, Texas, is being held on murder and aggravated kidnapping charges. His bail is set at his $1.5 million. He has no criminal record.
Paradise is located approximately 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth in the Dallas-Forth Worth-Arlington metropolitan area.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/athena-strand-murder-tanner-horner-confessed-to-strangling-texas-girl/ Delivery driver confessed to strangling Texas girl after accidentally hitting her with van, warrant says