FedEx driver kidnapped 7-year-old Texas girl who was found dead on Friday, authorities say –

A FedEx contract driver in Texas was arrested Friday and charged with kidnapping and murder in the death of a 7-year-old girl who went missing two days earlier, authorities said.

The disappearance of Athena Strand, who went missing Wednesday from her home in Paradise in Wise County, prompted a large search involving around 200 community volunteers.

Athena Strand. (KXAS)

On Friday, authorities found her 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 news conference on Friday night.

The driver, Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, was arrested on charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping, Akin said.

He was being held in jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail Friday night. It was not immediately clear Friday night if Horner had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Athena came home from school Wednesday afternoon as she normally does and around 6:40 p.m. her stepmother reported the girl missing, Akin said.

Horner delivered a package to the house when she was found missing, Akin said Friday night. Investigators believe the girl died about an hour after the abduction, she said.

Officials at a news conference did not disclose the reason and did not say how the boy died.

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 grief at the reports surrounding this tragic event,” FedEx said.

He directed other questions to law enforcement. It was not clear how long Horner had been a contract driver for the company.

Athena’s disappearance prompted a search that included thermal imaging helicopters, help from the Texas Rangers and neighboring police departments, and the FBI, among others, authorities said. The Texas Department of Public Safety issued an Amber Alert.

Police investigate the disappearance of 7-year-old Athena Strand in Paradise, Texas on Thursday. (KXAS)

James Dwyer, FBI special agent in charge of the Dallas field office, said investigators were able to review the digital evidence and work with FedEx on the investigation. He did not say what the digital evidence was.

Dwyer said he hoped the Strand family would have some closure. “We know they are suffering, but we offer them our deepest condolences,” he said.

Akin said that when the boy’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office Friday, one Texas Ranger was in the front and one was in the back of the vehicle.

“This community doesn’t like losing our children,” he said. “And you can see it from all the people who came out and helped us through this ordeal.”

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