A FedEx driver who stands accused of the brutal murder of a young 7-year-old girl from Texas found himself slammed with new charges as of this week for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor.
31-year-old Tanner Horner was charged by the prosecution earlier this month for allegedly brutally murdering Athena Strand. Now, however, he has also been issued charges of three counts of sexual assault against a child in a wholly separate case, reported Fox 7. These new charges seem to be coming from an alleged incident from back in 2013.
Horner allegedly confessed to law enforcement officers that he had hit Athena Strand with his delivery truck in the wake of dropping off her Christmas gifts, a set of Barbie dolls from the “you can be anything” collection.
Officials with law enforcement were able to get their hands on video footage taken from inside of the delivery truck which showed the man pulling the girl into his vehicle.
Once investigators found Horner, he openly admitted to the officers that “he had taken Athena” and that she was now dead.
“[Horner] stated when he was backing up in his Fed Ex truck he accidentally hit Athena with the truck, but she was not seriously injured, panicked and put her in the van,” stated the documents submitted to the court. “[Horner] stated Athena was alive at that time, talking to him, and told him her name was Athena. [Horner] stated he attempted to break Athena’s neck to kill her. [Horner] stated, when he attempted to break Athena’s neck it did not work so he strangled with his bare hands in the back of the Fed Ex van.”
Maitlyn Gandy, the mother of the young Athena, stated as part of a press conference, “Athena was robbed of the opportunity to grow up to be anything she wanted to be.”
“And this present ordered out of innocence and love is one she will never receive,” she stated. “Athena’s favorite holiday was Christmas as it is for many children everywhere. The joy Athena gave her family, and the joy she felt on Christmas is something we will never feel with here again.”
Lane Akin, the Sheriff of Wise County, claimed that his office is pushing for the death penalty for Horner due to “the serious nature of the case” and because of Athena’s age.
“There may be some hurdles we may or may not be able to cross – I’ll leave that to the district attorney,” he stated.