The FedEx driver suspected of killing 7-year-old Athena Strand had just delivered a set of Barbie dolls to her Texas home before allegedly abducting her in what police allege was a crime of opportunity, reports say.
Secondo KTVT-TV, di giovedì, outside the Wise County Courthouse in Decatur, Texas, Athena’s grieving mother Maitlyn Gandy said the Barbies from the “You Can Be Anything” collection were supposed to be a Christmas gift for Athena — one that she will never be able to unwrap.
“Athena was robbed of the opportunity to be anything she wanted to be. And this present, ordered out of innocence and love is one she will never receive,” Gandy told reporters, alongside her attorney, Benson Varghese, i rapporti dell'outlet.
“In this present ordered out of innocence and love, my innocent, free-spirited 7-year-old daughter was murdered,” Gandy added. “I was supposed to bring Athena after Christmas break. Anziché, she will be cremated and come home in an urn because I am not ready to let my baby go.”
Athena was found dead Friday, di 200 yards from her Paradise, Texas, casa, secondo le autorità. She was first reported missing by her stepmom il novembre. 30, after the pair had reportedly gotten into a disagreement.
Secondo KDFW-TV, a tip led investigators to 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, an independent contractor for FedEx, who was delivering packages in Athena’s neighborhood at the time of her disappearance.
It is suspected Athena was abducted from her driveway.
Authorities allege Horner confessed to the killing and told investigators where to find her body.
“I was robbed of watching her grow up by a man everyone was supposed to trust to just one simple task — deliver a Christmas present and leave,” Gandy said, according to KTVT.
“She was an amazing little girl who loved singing, dancing and all animals,” lei ha continuato. “She also loved school and all her friends in the first grade who are also struggling with her senseless murder. Athena also loved flowers, but she wasn’t afraid to get down in the mud with the boys. She was her father’s daughter.”
Gandy vowed to work toward fighting to ensure extensive background checks are implemented among delivery companies, aggiungendo che “screening and hiring policies must be put into place so that monsters wearing delivery uniforms don’t show up on our children’s doorsteps.”
Varghese also said he would “hold any person or corporation accountable whose actions or inactions could have prevented this little girl’s tragic death,” secondo la stazione.
Horner is being held on $1.5 million bond on charges of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder, jail records indicate.
It was unclear Thursday if he entered a plea to the charges or retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.