Who is Athena Strand's confessed killer, Tanner Horner?

Surveillance video from Tanner Horner’s van shows him taking her inside the vehicle, the affidavit states.

WISE COUNTY, Texas — Warning: This article contains graphic language.

The arrest affidavits have been made public for Tanner Horner, and they detail how police believe the man abducted and killed 7-year-old Athena Strand. 

While searching for Athena, police said they became aware that a FedEx package had been delivered to the Strand house in Wise County. The affidavit stated that they contacted the contracting company FedEx used to find out who had made the delivery and which van was used. 

After finding the van, the affidavit states police were able to acquire footage from the van’s surveillance camera that showed the 31-year-old Horner taking Strand into the vehicle. 

Horner was later located and confessed to investigators he had taken Athena and that she was dead the report details. Police said Horner told them he had accidentally hit Athena with his truck while he was backing up. According to the affidavit, Horner said Strand was not seriously injured in that collision but said he panicked just the same and put Athena in the van. 

The affidavit also notes that Horner further told investigators Strand was talking to him after she was hit, even telling him her name. Once inside the van, the affidavit continues, Horner told police he tried to break Athena’s neck — and when that didn’t work, he told police, he strangled her with his bare hands in the back of the van. 

Horner told police multiple times he strangled Athena because she was going to tell her father about being hit by the FedEx truck Horner was driving, the affidavit stated. 

Police have charged Horner with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and have said they be asking prosecutors to seek the death penalty for him if he’s convicted. 

Horner is currently being held in the Wise County jail and has a $1.5 million bond.

On Thursday night, FedEx responded to the new information with the following statement: 

“We share in the collective grief surrounding this heartbreaking tragedy, and our thoughts remain with the family of Athena Strand. There is no higher priority for us – and our network of 6,000 service provider companies – than ensuring the safety of our operations within the communities we serve.”

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