Content Warning: According to the arrest affidavit, this story contains graphic details about how Athena Strand died.
Investigators released new information about Strand’s death a week after authorities said FedEx ground contractor Tanner Lynn Horner confessed to killing 7-year-old Athena Strand and dumping her body near her Paradise, Texas, home.
During an initial search of the Strand, investigators found a FedEx driver who delivered deliveries to her home around 5:45 p.m. on Nov. 30, around the time she disappeared. Upon further investigation, law enforcement discovered that Big Topspin was the contractor company that had been delivering packages for FedEx.
Big Topspin employees helped investigators determine which van and driver delivered the goods to the Strand home, according to the arrest affidavit.
Horner, 31, of Fort Worth, Texas, admitted he accidentally hit Strand with his GMC van while backing up, the affidavit said.Although she “was not seriously injured [he] Panicked, put her in the van. “
“[Horner] said Athena was alive at the time, spoke to him and told him her name was Athena, “according to the affidavit.”[Horner] Said he tried to kill Athena by breaking her neck. [Horner] Said when he tried to break Athena’s neck it didn’t work so he strangled [her] He sat in the back of a FedEx van with his bare hands. “
Horner said in an interview, “he strangled Athena because she was going to tell her father about being hit by a FedEx truck,” the affidavit said. [Horner] is working. “
Horner allegedly directed investigators to the site where he dumped Strand’s body near the Trinity River in Boyd, Texas, according to reports.
During the course of the investigation, investigators learned that the van Horner was allegedly driving was equipped with video equipment through a third-party provider, Velocitor. The affidavit said Velocitor was able to provide video from the truck delivering the package, which was viewed by FBI agents.
“FBI employees discovered that the driver was in his van with a young girl who resembled Athena,” the affidavit said. “The driver is seen talking to her in the van in the video.”
At a news conference last week, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said officials, the Texas Rangers and the FBI estimated using digital evidence and interviews that Strand died at 11 died within an hour of being kidnapped at his home on 30 March.
FedEx Ground spokeswoman Meredith Miller said the company “contracts with independent businesses that provide package pickup and delivery services using their own employees, vehicles and equipment.”
“Employees of these service provider companies are required to undergo criminal history background checks as part of the driver qualification process,” Miller said in a statement to FreightWaves.
Horner faces the death penalty and kidnapping charges. He remained in the Wise County Jail Friday on $1.5 million bond.
Click here to see more articles by Clarissa Hawes. FreightWaves Senior Writer Mark Solomon contributed to this report.
This is a developing story.
Read more articles here:
FedEx contractor arrested after discovering body of 7-year-old Texas girl
Desperate Uniform furniture client unable to recover assets locked in shuttered facility
Do you have a news tip to share?send me one e-mail or leave me a message @cage_writer on twitter.Your name will not be used without your permission