Mineral Wells Area News

Latest on Missing Wise County Girl

Latest on Missing Wise County Girl
December 02
15:35 2022

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin held a press conference on Friday December 2, at 2pm to update the public and media regarding the investigation of missing 7-year-old Paradise girl Athena Strand.

By Amy Bearden/Mineral Wells Area News

Sheriff Akin said foul play is not suspected, but is a possibility in the little girl’s Wednesday night disappearance. He said more than 300 search volunteers have enabled the situation to move from a “search with an investigation to investigation with search,” Akin said.

An Amber Alert was issued around 2pm on Thursday, 19 hours after the initial call came in from the girls step-mom around 6:30pm.

“We sent it(Amber Alert) to DPS right away. I think DPS must have some parameters on that so they wait until there’s some reason for cause or concern. There’s clearly reason for cause if the child is not located in 24 hours,” said Aiken.

The Sheriff said so far they know the step-mom was the last person to see the little girl around 4:30pm when Athena and her had an argument and she ran away from the house, just as she has done in the past according to family. When the girl could not be located, authorities were notified. Dad was also said to be heading to a hunting destination in South Texas at the time of the disappearance and was notified when he was just south of Fort Worth.

According to Chief Deputy Craig Johnson, the search moved quickly into more of an investigation stage because so many volunteers showed up and they were able to cover a lot of territory quickly.

“We have lots of people to interview. And now we have the digital data we need for the investigation,” he said.

Akin said the County had an investigator doing interviews as well as Texas Ranger.

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Leads come in and get followed up on but since the immediate grid search area has been triple checked, the search moves to more individual pocketed areas of investigation.

Volunteers are now being asked “to stand down.

“We have to keep looking. We have to keep digging and following up on every lead,” said Chief Deputy Johnson.

“It wouldn’t be necessarily productive to have 300 people staged waiting to go search here and here and here,” said Johnson.

When asked how people can volunteer or help, Sheriff Akin encouraged residents in the area surrounding where the little girl went missing from (CR 3573 and FM 2123) to check their out buildings, sheds, and barns. He encouraged people to search their acreage.

“We got to look at everything,” Akin said, lamenting they have slept very little and doing everything they can to bring Athena home.

Akin says DPS has been unable to locate a Ring type camera in a 5 mile radius of the girls home.

Wise County Sheriff’s Department led by Akin, who is a retired Texas Ranger with almost 50 years of law enforcement experience, continues to lead this investigation with the assistance of DPS, Texas Rangers and various other law enforcement agencies.


Amy Bearden
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.

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