The Texas FedEx driver charged in the murder of 7-year-old Athena Strand admitted to killing her to prevent her from reporting he had hit the child with his van, according to an arrest warrant. The driver, Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, told investigators he hit Athena while backing up and "panicked," putting her in the back of the van. He said she wasn't seriously injured. She told him her name and said she would tell her father Horner had hit her, so he said he strangled her. Horner also told investigators where to find Athena's body, reports USA Today.
Horner was at Athena's father and stepmother's property in Paradise, Tx., on Nov. 30 to deliver a package intended to be a gift for the girl for Christmas, said her mother, Maitlyn Gandy said at a press conference Thursday, displaying a box of “You Can Be Anything” Barbie dolls and a shipping box from WalMart. "Athena was robbed of the opportunity to be anything she wanted to be," Gandy said. "I was robbed of watching her grow up by a man that everybody was supposed to be able to trust to do one simple task: deliver a Christmas present and leave." Athena's body was found Dec. 2. Horner, is in jail facing charges of capital murder of someone under 10 years old and aggravated kidnapping, and bond is set at $1.5 million. Gandy called for increased screening and hiring procedures so other families would not have to experience her pain and grief. A lawyer for the family, Benson Varghese, is investigating who might be held accountable in the decisions that led to the abduction and killing of Athena, including FedEx.