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Body of missing 7-year-old Athena Strand found in Wise County, police say

The body of missing seven-year-old Athena Strand has been found in Wise county, Texas sheriff Lane Akin said at a press conference on Friday evening.

The Wise county sherrif also said a FedEx driver has been taken into custody. The driver, identified by police as 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner is being held at the Wise County Jail on charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

“We want to send our condolences out to the family of Athena Strand. Her body was recovered about two hours ago, maybe three,” said Mr Akin told reporters and urged the public to give them privacy.

The sheriff said Athena’s body was found about six miles away from her home. Mr Horner had dropped off a package at the home at around the time the child was abducted, the sheriff said.

She was likely abducted from her driveway, about 200 yards away from the house.

Mr Akin said the suspect provided the police with two locations, including an area of CR 4599 that was taped off by police on Friday afternoon, before leading police to Athena’s body.

Officials, however, did not describe a motive for the suspect.

“They [the investigative team] were able to determine that the driver abducted Athena and from the investigative standpoint, digitally as well as good old interviews, we think Athena died within just the very hour or so after her departure from her home,” said Mr Akin.

“This driver is a contract driver… he is from Lake Worth,” the sheriff added. The suspect’s bond has been put at $1.5m, he said.

“We really can’t get into the content of the confession, but I will say that we have a confession. It’s still very, very early, but we wanted to make sure that we got the information out.”

The sheriff also pointed out that the suspect was not related and did not know Athena’s family.

He added that a search warrant for the defendant’s home was being run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Rangers, the primary criminal investigative branch of the Texas Department of Public Safety and declined to provide further information as part of the ongoing investigation.

On being asked about what the family wanted to say to the public, the sheriff said the family “appreciated the fact that we care so much”.

They’re devastated, they’re angry because of what happened. Precious child taken from their lives.”

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