The grandfather of Athena Strand, a 7-year-old girl abducted and found dead in Paradise, テキサス, 先週, has said he is trying to forgive the child’s alleged killer.
In an emotional Facebook post, Mark Strand writes that although he’s furious with the person who allegedly took his granddaughter’s life, he’s also committed to forgiving him. “…I want 5 minutes alone in a cell with the psycho that took our Athena away from us, but there’s a soft gentle voice in the back of my head telling me I need to forgive him,” 彼は書く.
Strand goes on to connect this voice in his head to that of God, asserting, “Hate is a powerful force that will take root in your soul. God wants to protect us all from that hate. Hate is the gateway for the Evil we see growing in the world today.”
The grandfather’s post, which currently has more than 5,000 comments and 25,000 株式, appears to have struck a chord in readers.
This comes after Athena Strand disappeared last Wednesday, 11月. 30, from outside her home following an argument with her stepmother. 女性 reported Athena missing that afternoon after discovering she was not in her room, according to ABC affiliate WFAA and NBC affiliate KXAS-TV.
The stepmom contacted authorities after searching for Athena for approximately one hour. The two had allegedly had “a little bit of an argument” shortly before Athena went missing, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said, according to KXAS. The disagreement, 彼が追加した, ではなかった “anything unusual.”
“Then stepmom went to fix dinner, came back to get Athena, and Athena wasn’t in her room,” Akin continued.
2日後, Strand was found dead along the Trinity River, about seven miles from her home, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told 記者. A FedEx driver was subsequently charged after allegedly kidnapping Strand from the driveway and killing her, 当局は言った.
Akin has not revealed the child’s cause of death, but said she likely died within the first hour of her disappearance, KFOR レポート. 彼 also told the 星–Telegram that he believed it was a crime of opportunity and that Athena was not hit by the Fed Ex truck.
A tip reportedly helped authorities focus on Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, a contract driver for Fed Ex who was delivering packages in the girl’s neighborhood. Police allege Horner confessed to the killing, multiple outlets report, and also allegedly told police where to find Athena’s body.
Athena Strand’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, has been posting on Facebook about her loss — and the legacy Athena leaves behind. “I do not want the bastard that took my baby from me and brutally murdered her to go to any city, 町, county, 州, or country without every single person knowing her face,” Gandy writes. “She no longer has a voice but I will be the best voice I can as a mother for her and I will not stop.”
Horner, a father who describes himself as a “non-neurotypical musician” と “metalhead” on his Facebook page, has been charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping in Athena’s case.
He is now being held in the Wise County Jail on $1.5 ミリオンボンド. It is unclear if Horner has entered a plea or retained a lawyer to comment on his behalf.
PEOPLE reached out to the Wise County Sheriff’s office and has not yet heard back.
Since Horner’s arrest, at least one woman has come forward reiterating allegations she previously made that Horner sexually assaulted her when she was a minor. (These claims have not been substantiated by PEOPLE.)
Shay Marie described the alleged assault on her Facebook page in 2019, naming Tanner Horner as the person who allegedly raped her at age 16, when Horner was 23. “December 6th and 7th marks 7 years since you violated me and treated me like you were entitled to my body. 7 年. i was a child in a vulnerable state and you took advantage of that,” Marie wrote last December.
It’s unclear whether a report was filed or if Horner was ever charged in the alleged incident. PEOPLE reached out to Shay Marie for comment and did not immediately hear back.