Wise County, Texas: On Thursday, February 16, 2023, 31-year-old Tanner Horner was indicted by a grand jury on charges of aggravated kidnapping and capitol murder of a person under the age of 10 years old for the death of 7-year-old Athena Strand.
Horner had been working as a contract driver for FedEx on November 30, 2023, when he is said to have hit Athena with the van he was driving while delivering a package to her home in Paradise, Texas.
Horner told investigators that she was not seriously hurt, but he panicked and threw her into the van. Shortly thereafter, he is believed to have strangled her and then dumped her body several miles from her home.
Her body was recovered on December 2, 2023.
Athena's mother, Maitlyn Gandy released a statement after the indictment was announced saying. "Tanner Horner's indictment is the beginning of a long road through the justice system. I appreciate everyone's continued support and for keeping Athena's name and memory alive. Please take a moment to hug your children and loved ones. No one is promised another day."
At this time Horner remains in the Wise County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bond.
In an unrelated case, Horner has been charged with three counts of sexual assault of a child dating back to 2013.