The mourning mother of 7-year-old Athena Strand has paid a heartbreaking tribute to her ‘princess’ after she was kidnapped and killed by a FedEx driver.
Maitlyn Gandy from Texas said her daughter was abducted and murdered by a ‘sick, cruel monster’ for no reason only hours after 31-year-old Tanner Horner admitted to the horrific crime.
The child was found lifeless on Friday evening, with police saying she likely died less than an hour after being taken from the driveway of their home.
“Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet,” mourning Gandy wrote.
“I don’t want her to be the girl known as the one murdered and discarded by a monster. I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me.”
Gandy’s tribute comes as a 23-year-old woman says she was assaulted by Tanner Horner when she was 16 years old.
Shay Marie from Texas has said publicly and on social media that Tanner Horner assaulted her in 2014. She also reported the incident to law enforcement.
Gandy took to Facebook and shared hundreds of photos of her ‘beautiful princess.’ In one of her posts, she said: “I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel. Missing her doesn’t cover how I feel.”
In another post, she wrote: “I want everyone to know, every single person in this world, that this is my baby and my baby was taken from me. I want everyone to know her face and her voice and just how wonderful of a person she is.”
Strand’s heartbroken aunt, Keeland Kulbeth, also told KXASV-TV: “She loved people, loved animals, loved flowers. She’s a very girly girl. I just can’t see her running off and leaving.”
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