PARADISE, TEXAS (AP) – A seven-year-old Texas girl has been found dead, two days after being reported missing, and a FedEx delivery driver arrested in her death, authorities said.
The body of Athena Strand was found on Friday and Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, was arrested on kidnapping and murder charges after confessing to killing the girl and telling authorities where to find her body, according to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.
Horner remained jailed on Saturday on USD1.5 million bond. Jail records did not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Akin said during a late Friday news conference that a tip led authorities to Horner, who the sheriff said had made a delivery to the girl’s home shortly before she disappeared.
Horner did not know the girl’s family, according to Akin, who declined to discuss a motive for the crime. “We really can’t get into the content of the confession, but I will say we have a confession” from Horner, Akin said.
The girl’s stepmother had reported her missing last Wednesday from the family home near Paradise on the northwestern outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Her body was found near the town of Boyd, about 9.6 kilometres southeast of Paradise, a town of about 475 people, Akin said.
FedEx said in a statement that it is working with law enforcement agencies investigating the case.
“Our thoughts are with the family of Athena Strand during this most difficult time,” according to the statement. “Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow surrounding this tragic event.”