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FedEx driver reportedly told investigators Texas girl was still alive after hitting her with vehicle


A FedEx driver panicked after he hit a 7-year-old girl in Texas with his work van and threw her into the truck, where he killed her, authorities said.

Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping, told authorities he placed Athena Strand in his work truck after hitting her with it, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released Thursday .

Horner reportedly told investigators the child was not seriously injured when he accidentally backed the truck into her. Horner also told investigators he even spoke to the girl in his van where she told him her name, according to the affidavit.

But he killed her after she “freaked out” and because “she was going to tell her father that she had been hit by the FedEx truck the defendant was driving,” the affidavit said.

Several outlets reported Thursday that Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, said Horner delivered Athena’s Christmas present, the “You Can Be Anything” Barbie dolls, shortly before she was killed. be,” Gandy said, while breaking down and crying at times. “I was supposed to bring Athena home to Oklahoma after Christmas vacation. Instead, Athena will be cremated and she will come home to an urn because I’m nowhere near ready to let my baby go. .”

Athena Beach. (KXAS)

The affidavit says Athena’s mother-in-law called 911 to report that the girl disappeared from their home in Paradise, County Wise on November 30 at around 6:41 p.m.

The child was reported missing less than an hour after her stepmother last saw her in her temporary bedroom, which was a converted storage shed she shared with her stepsister, according to the report. affidavit.

According to the affidavit, investigators learned FedEx delivered a package around the time she disappeared. Investigators worked with a contracted company delivering packages for FedEx to determine which van and driver made the delivery.

Investigators also learned that the FedEx truck was equipped with cameras that captured one-minute clips, according to the affidavit. An FBI employee, according to the affidavit, analyzed video evidence and “discovered that the driver had taken a young girl who visibly resembled Athena into his van. The driver was seen on video talking to her in the van,” the affidavit reads. .

Investigators were able to identify Horner as the driver.

Horner, after allegedly admitting to killing the girl, also allegedly told investigators where to find her. Law enforcement found the child dead in the water, according to the affidavit.

Horner was arrested on Friday, two days after the girl disappeared, sparking an extensive search with around 200 community volunteers.

On Friday, authorities found his body southeast of the town of Boyd, a town about 11 miles away, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told reporters.

“We have a confession,” Akin said at a Friday night press conference.

Bail for Horner has been set at $1.5 million. It was not immediately clear Thursday night if Horner had an attorney.

FedEx said in a statement that its thoughts are with the family and that the company is fully cooperating with law enforcement.

“Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow at the information surrounding this tragic event,” FedEx said.

This article originally appeared on



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