More details are coming to light about how and why FedEx driver Tanner Lynn Horner kidnapped and killed 7-year-old Athena Strand after going to deliver a package to her house on November 30.
According to an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant of the suspect, Horner told investigators that he accidentally backed into Athena with the delivery van and then panicked about covering up his deed. Although the little girl was not seriously hurt, he was afraid she would tell her father what happened. This was why he grabbed her and put her in the van.
Horner has also admitted to first trying to unsuccessfully break the victim’s neck. He then ended up strangling her and leaving her body on the water’s edge at the Trinity River near Boyd. After being arrested and while being questioned by the authorities, Horner revealed the location of Athena’s body, which the police recovered on December 2.
Investigators learned there was a video camera inside the van that Athena was kidnapped. The authorities were able to recover one-minute clips, that showed Horner talking to Athena after he took her. Horner also confessed that Athena was alive when he took her and she was able to tell him her name.
Horner is currently being held on a $1.5 million bond in the Wise County Jail as he faces charges of capital murder of a person under 10 years old and aggravated kidnapping. Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against him if he is convicted.
Usually, FedEx Ground drivers are subject to criminal history background checks during the application process, according to the logistics company. Court records do not reflect Horner having any prior rap sheet. “FedEx Ground contracts with independent businesses that provide package pickup and delivery services using their own employees, vehicles and equipment,” FedEx Ground said in a prepared statement. “The employees of these service provider companies are subject to criminal history background checks as part of the driver eligibility process.”
The company has also expressed condolences to the family of the victim.