FedEx driver branded ‘monster’ by mum of girl ‘bundled into van and murdered’

The mother of a seven-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted from her bedroom and killed has dubbed the FedEx delivery driver charged with her murder a "monster".

Athena Strand, seven, went missing on Wednesday, November 30, in the town of Paradise, Texas.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin held a press conference on Friday evening, December 2, saying her body had been found miles away and suspect Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, had confessed to murder.

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Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, 26, dubbed Horner an "absolute monster" in a series of social media posts.

“Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet,” Gandy wrote.

“I don’t want her to be the girl known as the one murdered and discarded by a monster. I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me.

“Athena’s case and the trial against the absolute monster that took her from me, May very well get moved to another county or district in Texas due to the large community involvement (which I am so grateful for),” Gandy wrote.

“I do not want the b******* that took my baby from me and brutally murdered her to go to any city, town, county, state, or country without every single person knowing her face,” she added.

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Investigators determined that a contract FedEx delivery driver "had abducted Athena" from her home and believe she died "within an hour or so" of being taken.

Some reports stated that the youngster was outside her home after an argument with her step-mother when Horner was delivering a package.

The alarm was raised when the step-mother noticed that she didn't come back into the house, and couldn't be found anywhere.

Horner is being held in county jail and is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

He has confessed to the crime and his bond is set at $1.5 million, police said.

Sheriff Akin added that Horner did not know Athena nor was he related to her.

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