Athena Strand affidavit: New warrant reveals suspect Tanner Horner admitted to strangling 7-year-old to death

Horner had no official criminal record (Image via family of Athena Strand)
Horner had no official criminal record (Image via family of Athena Strand)

On Thursday, December 8, Texas authorities made public the arrest affidavit for Tanner Horner, detailing the homicide of 7-year-old Athena Strand.

In the arrest warrant, it was reported that 31-year-old suspect Tanner Lynn Horner was working as a freelance contractor for FedEx at the time of the killing. Tanner told authorities that he attempted to abduct Strand while delivering Christmas presents to her family home.

@TahliaSG My God. God bless this family. FEDEX NEEDS TO PAY FOR THAT ONE.

As stated by USA Today, Horner said that the incident occurred after he accidentally hit Athena Strand with his delivery truck. He reportedly stated that Strand threatened to tell her father about the incident, which supposedly caused him to panic and attempt to break her neck. When this failed, he allegedly strangled her to death.

The New York Post reported that, in connection with the murder, Tanner Lynn Horner was charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

The criminal history of the Athena Strand murder suspect

As per Newsweek, while Tanner Lynn Horner had no history prior to the murder of Athena Strand, he was accused of s*xually assaulting a woman three years ago. The outlet reported that in a series of 2019 Facebook posts, at least two women accused the suspect of abusive and transphobic behavior.

@TahliaSG His profile is still up on FB. Everyone leave a pm about what you think of him. Apparently he has an infant daughter how frightening.

One of Horner's accusers, who remained unnamed, posted that the suspect had subjected her to s*xual assault when she was 16 years old.

After Horner was identified as the primary suspect in the death of Athena Strand, the woman posted:

"Tanner Lynn Horner, the man who (assaulted) me at 16, 8 years ago, murdered Athena Strand, a 7 year old girl. I hope the family gets the justice they deserve. I hope he rots. And I hope that everyone who didn't believe me, (does now)."

While the accusations cannot be corroborated at this point, Strand's biological mother, Maitlyn Gandy, stated that FedEx should have conducted more thorough background checks. She condemned Horner's alleged actions, and said,

"Athena was robbed of the opportunity to be anything she wanted to be. 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."
@Musicblues1 @TahliaSG Probably will pay, even though there's know way it could have known that anything like this could have been done by a driver of a company that FedEx hired.

FedEx stated in an official statement that, while the transport company conducts background checks, Tanner Lynn Horner had no official criminal record. The company also stated that Horner had not been an official FedEx employee, but rather a contractor with Big Topspin.

@FoxNews God rest her soul ....beautiful little girl and truly loved.

The statement read:

“FedEx Ground contracts with independent businesses that provide package pickup and delivery services using their own employees, vehicles and equipment. The employees of these service provider companies are subject to criminal history background checks as part of the driver eligibility process.”

Tanner Lynn Horner is currently being held in the Wise County jail on a $1.5 million bond.

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Edited by Babylona Bora
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