Texans wear pink in honor of girl allegedly murdered by FedEx driver

PARADISE, Texas. – People across Texas are honoring a young girl Monday who police say was murdered last week by a FedEx driver.

Pink was 7-year-old Athena Strand’s favorite color, so on Monday, residents across Texas were encouraged to wear pink in her honor.

The body of Athena Strand was found Friday, two days after she was reported missing by her stepmother.

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.

“I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel. My princess was taken from me from a sick, cruel monster for absolutely no reason,” Athena’s mother wrote in part on Facebook.

Horner remained jailed Monday on a $1.5 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 on 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 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) southeast of Paradise, a town of about 475 people, Akin said.

James Dwyer, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office, said FedEx cooperated with investigators.

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.”

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.