The FedEx driver accused of abducting and murdering 7-year-old Athena Strand was dropping off her Christmas present — a set of Barbie dolls called the “You can be anything” collection, her mom said.

Tanner Lynn Horner allegedly dropped off the box containing six Barbies of different races and statures when he nabbed Athena from her father’s home in Paradise, Texas, Nov. 30, mother Maitlyn Gandy said at a Thursday news 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,” Gandy said, adding that it was the first time she was seeing the gift the family had been looking forward to watching her daughter open Christmas morning.

“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.”

Athena was found dead two days after she was reported missing from her home in Paradise, approximately 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth, by her stepmother.

Horner confessed to the crime, police said, and led authorities to the young girl’s body approximately 10 miles from her home. The 31-year-old FedEx driver did not know the family.

Attendees offer their respect to a makeshift memorial for late Athena Strand after a memorial service at First Baptist Church of Cottondale in Paradise, Texas, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022.
Athena Strand was allegedly killed by a FedEx driver delivering a package to her family’s home in Paradise, Texas.

Police believe she was killed within the very hour she was abducted.

The young girl was staying with her father and stepmother in Paradise for the holiday and was expected to return to Gandy’s Oklahoma home after the Christmas break, Gandy said.

“Now, instead, Athena will be cremated and she will come home in an urn because I’m not even, I’m not anywhere close to being ready to let my baby go,” she said.

During a press conference at the Wise County Courthouse in Decatur, Texas, on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, Maitlyn Gandy presented the box that was delivered on the day Athena Strand, 7, was abducted.
The package contained Athena’s Christmas present: a box of six “You can be anything” Barbies.

Maitlyn Gandy, mother of 7-year-old Athena Strand, walks away after speaking to the media.
Maitlyn Gandy said she was robbed of watching her daughter grow up.

Tanner Lynn Horner mugshot.
Tanner Lynn Horner allegedly confessed to killing the young girl.

Gandy dyed her hair hot pink in honor of Athena, according to Fox.

The grieving mother remembered her daughter as a sweet and friendly girl who “loved dancing, singing and all animals: dogs, cats, horses, lizards and chinchillas.”

“I will never see her bright blue eyes or her ornery smile again,” Gandy said. “I will never be able to hear her say, ‘I love you, Mommy.’ I will never be able to do her hair again or to hold her while she sleeps.”

Athena Strand
Athena was found two days after she was reported missing.
White Settlement Police Departme

“I was robbed of watching her grow up by a man everyone was supposed to be able to trust. To do just one simple task: deliver a Christmas present and leave

Horner has been charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and is being held on a $1.5 million bail.

With Post Wires

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