Mineral Wells Area News

Body of 7-year-old Wise County Girl Recovered; FedEx Driver Charged with Capital Murder

Body of 7-year-old Wise County Girl Recovered; FedEx Driver Charged with Capital Murder
December 02
19:37 2022

By Amy Bearden/Mineral Wells Area News

The search for 7-year-old Athena Strand has come to an end with the discovery of her body about six miles from her home, just Southeast of Boyd, thanks to a tip law enforcement received.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin has announced in a press conference at 10pm on December 2 that Athena Strand’s body has been recovered and and a contract Fed Ex delivery driver has been charged with Capital Murder and Aggravated Kidnapping of the 7-year-old girl.

31-Year-Old Fort Worth resident Tanner Lynn Horner was booked in the the Wise County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.

31 year old Tanner Horner is charged with Aggravated Kidnapping and Capital Murder of Athena Strand

The delivery driver made a stop with a package at the girl’s house about the time she went missing according to the investigation. The driveway to the home is about 200 yards from the road, according Sheriff Akin. Horner has confessed to abducting Athena and the Sheriff believes the little girl passed away with an hour or so of her abduction, based on digital data they uncovered.

“Our heart and condolences go out to this little girl’s family,” said Akin. “Her little body is on its way to the medical examiner’s office being led by a Texas Ranger and being followed by a Texas Ranger.”

“Anytime a child dies in an investigation, it hits you in the heart,” said Akin.

The search has ended for Athena Strand. Her body was recovered several miles from her mom. A Fed Ex driver is charged with her murder.

He thanked the many law enforcement agencies and volunteers that worked effortlessly to get answers.

The suspect did not know the family or the little girl before this incident and evidence leads investigators to believe Horner took Athena near the gate at the end of her homes’s driveway. Akin said Fed Ex helped authorities track down the suspect.

Fed Ex issued a statement late Friday. “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.”

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Although authorities said at the news conference that Horner was believed to be from Lake Worth, property records show his address is in the Fort Worth city limits, on the west side of the lake.

Just before 5pm on December 2, three hours after Wise County Sheriff held a press conference stating they had combed the surrounding property with over 300 people searching the grid area but still had no indication of the whereabouts of the girl, police rolled up to examine a ditch on CR 4599. According to witnesses and media on the scene, officers began to put up police tape and pushed the media and the public back as they closed off the area. But then sometime after 7pm, law enforcement cleared the scene they had blocked off and at 9:30pm announced they would hold a 10pm Press Conference.

Akin did confirm in the press conference that investigators found nothing at CR 4599 and it was just misinformation provided by the suspect. He indicated that authorities went to three different locations before finding the body.

Amy Bearden

Amy Bearden is the Publisher/Editor of Mineral Wells Area News and loves celebrating her favorite town by telling the stories of the people in the community. Amy has a passion for local sports, news and business development. She spent 10 years marketing a professional sports team and is now focused on growing the cultural wellness and creative arts space throughout the area. Amy has four kids, two dogs and a garden she cherishes, along with her yoga mat.