Athena Strand murder: Prosecutors will pursue death penalty for FedEx driver ... trends now

Athena Strand murder: Prosecutors will pursue death penalty for FedEx driver ... trends now
Athena Strand murder: Prosecutors will pursue death penalty for FedEx driver ... trends now

Athena Strand murder: Prosecutors will pursue death penalty for FedEx driver ... trends now

Texas prosecutors have announced they will seek the death penalty for a FedEx driver accused of kidnapping and murdering a seven-year-old girl.

Authorities say Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, was delivering a package to a home in Paradise, Texas, last Wednesday, when he kidnapped Athena Strand, who had been visiting her father and step-mother.

Her body was found about six miles away from the home on Friday, with police saying she was likely killed within an hour of her abduction.

The Wise County Sheriff's Office has since said Horner confessed to abducting and killing her.

He now faces capital murder and aggravated kidnapping charges, and is being held on a $1.5million bond at the Wise County Law Enforcement Center, as Sheriff Lane Akin prepares to have his case turned over to the district attorney by next week.

'Because of the age of the child, and because it was an abduction, we are going to pursue the death penalty,' he told WFAA, noting that the department is still receiving information from the public that deputies are following up on so that they have an air-tight case against him.

Meanwhile, Strand's mother, Maitlyn Gandy, is set to speak out about the case at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, confessed to police to abducting and killing Athena Strand, 7, on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities are now seeking the death penalty in his case

 Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, confessed to police to abducting and killing Athena Strand, 7, on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities are now seeking the death penalty in his case

The young girl's body was found six miles from where she was taken on Wednesday afternoon

The young girl's body was found six miles from where she was taken on Wednesday afternoon

The girl's mother, Maitlyn Gandy, is set to speak out about the case at a news conference Thursday afternoon

The girl's mother, Maitlyn Gandy, is set to speak out about the case at a news conference Thursday afternoon

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Wise County Sheriff  Lane Akin says he is seeking the death penalty for the man accused of kidnapping and murdering a seven-year-old girl

Wise County Sheriff  Lane Akin says he is seeking the death penalty for the man accused of kidnapping and murdering a seven-year-old girl

'Our short-term efforts are focused on Athena's family, taking as much as we can off heir plates so they can mourn her loss,' Benson Varghese, Gandy's lawyer, said in a statement.

'Our long-term goals are to thoroughly investigate how and why this happened and to hold any person or corporation accountable whose actions or inactions could have prevented this little girl's tragic death.

'Corporations like FedEx are welcomed at our homes to bring packages to our doorsteps, not danger,' he continued, adding: 'We will leave no stone unturned in our quest to get answers for Athena.' 

The shipping company released a statement on Friday night expressing their condolences to the family: 'Words cannot describe our shock at the reports surrounding this tragic event. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time.'

When asked about their hiring practices, a spokesperson for FedEx told FOX News Digital that it 'contracts for transportation, pickup, and delivery services with more than 6,000 independent businesses that are committed to providing outstanding package pickup and delivery services using their own employees.' 

The spokesperson also said each employee is subject to a criminal background check and 'should we become aware of any criminal activity within our network, we work swiftly to investigate and address those incidents, including cooperating with law enforcement.'

Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, confessed to police to abducting and killing Athena on Wednesday afternoon

Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, confessed to police to abducting and killing Athena on Wednesday

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