The search for a 7-year-old missing girl in Texas came to a devastating end after her body was discovered Friday afternoon in Boyd, Texas. 

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said that they had received a tip that led them to a FedEx driver named Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, who is suspected of abducting Athena Strand, the victim when he was making a delivery in front of Athena’s house. Authorities believed that she was likely killed within an hour of his disappearance. The accused has been arrested and booked in the Wise County Jail. He faces charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. Upon questioning, he was the one who told the authorities where Athena’s body was. 

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It is not yet known how or where Athena was killed. A FedEx spokeswoman issued the following statement: “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, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities. At this time, any further questions should be directed to law enforcement.”

“It hurts our hearts to know that that child died,” the sheriff said.

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Who was Athena Strand?

According to the information provided by the police, Athena used to live with her father and stepmother in North Texas county. Her biological mother lives in Oklahoma. She does have sole custody of her daughter but allowed her to spend time with her in Texas in the fall with her father and stepmother.

“We talked to both sides: the mother and the father and the stepmother. They have been very cooperative,” Akin said.

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The 7-year-old was last seen alive getting off of her school bus on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. local time. After having searched for the victim for an hour and failing to locate her, the girl’s stepmother reported Athena missing to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office at 6:40 p.m.

The sheriff said that the stepmother and the child “had a little bit of an argument,” which was not unusual and that the victim walked away. “Athena got upset and she walked away, as she has done in the past” but her stepmother said that she “expected she would come back,” Akin said.

At 5:30 p.m. Athena’s stepmother went to her room to find that she was not there. The victim’s stepmother was the only adult in the house at the time of her disappearance. Her father was driving to south Texas to go deer hunting at the time. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety issued an Amber Alert for Athena on Thursday afternoon, describing her as endangered. The alert added, “law enforcement believes the child’s safety and health are in danger.”