Athena Strand’s mother has shared photos of her daughter’s coffin as she was laid to rest a week after she was murdered.
Strand, seven, was reported missing from her father’s home on November 30, leading to a widespread search involving over 200 volunteers from the local area, per NBC News.
Sadly, her body was found on December 2 roughly 11 miles away from where she went missing. CBS reported that a FedEx driver, Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, abducted Strand from her home while delivering a package and allegedly confessed to killing her.
After news of Strand’s death, her mother Maitlyn Presley Gandy posted a tribute to her daughter on social media.
“Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet,” she said. “I don’t want her to be the girl known as the one murdered and discarded by a monster.”
As per the Daily Mail, Strand’s private funeral was held on Friday (December 9). Gandy has since posted a further tribute to her daughter, alongside images of her daughter’s bright pink coffin which she dubbed “her eternal bed”. She confirmed Strand will: “come home in an urn because I’m not anywhere close to letting my baby go.”
Strand’s bright pink coffin was seen adorned with black patterns including an intricate heart and arrows, as well as her name on the side.
The inside of the casket was lined with fur and also featured a photo of Strand smiling, superimposed with clouds behind her and her name.
The Daily Mail also reports that her killer confessed to accidentally hitting the seven-year-old with his truck, before strangling her. He told authorities that the young girl wasn’t seriously injured after the incident, but he became panicked that she would tell her parents about what had happened.
BREAKING: Wise County officials announce they recovered the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand. A FedEx driver is in custody with a $1.5M bond related to her abduction and death. Sending my condolences to the north Texas family😢💔 pic.twitter.com/vaBsVAQBlU
— Tahlia (@TahliaSG) December 3, 2022
Horner is being held at the Wise County Law Enforcement Center in Texas on a $1.5 million bond, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Strand’s murderer.
In a recent post, Gandy has vowed to ensure nobody experiences the events that have rocked her family. “I will spend the rest of my life fighting for her so that no other family will endure such unbearable pain and grief,” she said.
She had also revealed that the parcel Horner had been dropping off at the time of Strand’s disappearance had contained the little girl’s Christmas present – Barbie dolls – which she tragically never got to open.
Our thoughts go out to the family.
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