Who is Tanner Lynn Horner? Athena Strand found dead 2 days after going missing

The suspect was delivering a package to the Strand family home at the time of the alleged kidnapping (Images via Tanner Lynn Horner/ Victim
The suspect was delivering a package to the Strand family home at the time of the alleged kidnapping (Images via Tanner Lynn Horner/ Victim's family)

On December 2, Texas authorities discovered the remains of Athena Strand, a 7-year-old who had been reported missing for two days.

According to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin, the primary suspect in the homicide case has been identified as 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, a Fed-Ex driver who allegedly abducted Athena Strand from her home on November 30, 2022. WFAA confirmed that Horner confessed to the murder after his arrest.

Fox reported that Tanner Lynn Horner is currently being held in Wise County Jail. He faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder.

Tanner Lynn Horner has previously worked as an uber driver

The Star Telegram reported that according to Horner's online social media profiles, he graduated from Azle High School before working as a musician and uber driver at various points.

At the time of the reported crime, Tanner Lynn Horner was an independent contractor driving for Fed-Ex. Texas authorities stated that the suspect reportedly resided near Lake Worth, though property records indicated that he lived in Fort Worth.

In an official statement, Lake Worth Police Chief J.T. Manoushagian confirmed the suspect's address.

He said:

“To be clear, the suspect does NOT reside in the City of Lake Worth, but rather near the lake itself - miles away from COLW. Please continue to lift up Athena’s family in prayer along with the officers investigating this heinous crime.”

Authorities reported that Horner had never interacted with Athena Strand or her family before the alleged abduction. Fox reported that he reportedly kidnapped the victim while working for Fed-Ex, delivering a package to the Strand family's Paradise home.

As per the Independent, the kidnapping most likely occurred sometime after 4.30 pm, when Athena Strand arrived home from school. The outlet stated that digital evidence suggests Horner killed the child within an hour of abducting her.

According to Fox, Athena Strand's stepmother reported her missing at approximately 6.40 pm after she could not find the 7-year-old in her room.

Sherrif Akin described the case as especially tragic.

He said:

"It’s one of the most difficult investigations I have been involved in because it’s a child. It just hits you in your heart."

On Friday, Fed-Ex released a statement regarding the murder:

“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."

WFAA reported that the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers, and Texas DPS were all involved in the investigation.

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Edited by Sayati Das