“I love you and love doesn’t even cover it. Mommy is broken without you,” the grieving mother said.
On November 30, Athena Strand, 7, went missing from her Paradise, Texas home. After a thorough search, her body was discovered two days later close to Boyd, a city that is located 11 miles away, according to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin, per TODAY.
The mother of the 7-year-old Texas girl has posted a devastating statement about her daughter on social media. “She was perfect from her creation. She was born perfect and too beautiful,” she wrote, adding that the couple was always scared of how beautiful she was. “We feel like we failed you. No one deserves what happened to you, but especially you. I love you and love doesn’t even cover it. Mommy is broken without you.”
In a separate post, the mom shared how difficult it is for her to make difficult decisions, adding that no parent should ever have to make these decisions. "I am trying to stay strong. In all of the heartbreak and trauma I have experienced in my life, I would take it ten times over again to not have this pain and especially the reason I am in this pain," she wrote.
Authorities estimate that Athena passed away an hour or so after being kidnapped. She was allegedly abducted and killed by a FedEx delivery worker. Tanner Lynn Horner, a 31-year-old FedEx contract driver, is being held in a Texas jail on $1.5 million in bonds after being charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. “We do have a confession,” Akin remarked during a recent news conference. FedEx officials are also cooperating with the investigation as and when required. “Our thoughts are with the family of Athena Strand during this most difficult time. Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow surrounding this tragic event,” FedEx acknowledged the family's trauma in a statement shared on Twitter. “We continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities.”
December 3, 2022
The grieving mother, referring to the suspect as a “monster,” shared that she's grateful for all the support she and Athena have been receiving. She shared a poignant message for those who continue to ask for justice for her daughter. She writes, “The message I have for everyone, is please continue to share and talk about Athena and her legacy. She would be so happy to know and see all of the things done in her honor and hear how many people care about her. She was born to change my world and she has. Let her unexpected and inexcusable death be the reason we seek to change.”
The whole community is shaken up by this loss. Wise County Judge J.D. Clark requested that locals wear pink on Monday, December 5, in memory of Athena in a Facebook post over the weekend. He also requested that residents congregate on December 5 at the neighborhood courthouse “to pray for Athena, her family, our first responders, and our community.”
A touching remark was also shared in Athena's honor by the Paradise Independent School District. “It is with a sad and heavy heart that I address you. We lost a precious member of our student body,” Superintendent Rod Townsend on Facebook, adding, “Athena Strand was tragically lost this past week. This world will forever be different because she wasn’t allowed to grow and develop into the precious young lady she was meant to be.”
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Maitlyn Presley Gandy