Texas authorities have retrieved the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand, who was found dead on Friday after being reported missing several days earlier.
Wise County authorities located Strand’s body in Boyd, Texas, on Friday afternoon after receiving a tip that led investigators to FedEx delivery driver Tanner Lynn Horner, 31, who later confessed to abducting the girl, according to police. He faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and capital murder and is now at the Wise County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.
“It’s one of the toughest investigations I have been involved in because it’s a child. Any time there’s a child that dies, it just hits you in your heart,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said in a Friday press conference.
The discovery of Strand’s body concludes a dayslong search that began on Wednesday after the girl’s stepmother reported her missing. Strand went missing once she ran away after arguing with her stepmother, according to Fox 4.
Police believe Strand was killed “within an hour or so” after she left her home, according to Akin.
Authorities declined to comment on whether the 7-year-old had been sexually assaulted before her death, and they have not determined a cause of death.