Shattered Mother Leads Tearful Tribute to Athena Strand as Hundreds Don Pink at Vigil for Slain Texas Girl

It was pink as far as the eye could see in Paradise, Texas, on Monday night. Everyone from friends and family members to school children and bikers paid tribute to Athena by showing up to the vigil in bright pink.

"She's the best little girl. She really was."

These are the words of Maitlyn Gandy, remembering her daughter Athena Strand at a candlelight vigil just days after the young Texas girl was found dead. Maitlyn also dyed her hair pink, 7-year-old Athena's favorite color, to honor her daughter.

And she was not the only one.

It was pink as far as the eye could see in Paradise on Tuesday night.  Everyone from friends and family members to school children and bikers paid tribute to Athena by showing up to the vigil in bright pink.

"I don't know how to thank you guys for all y'all have done for my family," Maitlyn told the crowd through tears at one point.

Athena's body was discovered last week after she was abducted from her driveway.

Police say that FedEx driver Tanner Lynn Horner confessed to the murder, and even told authorities where to find to her body. The 31-year-old could be facing charges of capital murder and kidnapping.

Athena had been reported missing last Wednesday after disappearing from the driveway of her home in the town of Paradise. Her body was found two days later.

The Wise County Sheriff's Office does not know yet how the young girl lost her life, but in a news conference Sheriff Lane Akin stated that it is believed she died "by [Horner's] hand."

Horner, who was an occasional Uber driver in addition to working for FedEx, is being held on $1.5 million bond.

Uber says that Horner has not driven for the company in months and is now banned from the platform. 

FedEx is helping with the investigation, according to authorities.

“FedEx Ground contracts with independent businesses that provide package pickup and delivery services using their own employees, vehicles and equipment,” FedEx Ground says in a statement. “The employees of these service provider companies are subject to criminal history background checks as part of the driver eligibility process.”

Meanwhile, Athena's family continues to mourn.

"I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel," Maitlyn said after her daughter's body was discovered last week. "My princess was taken from me by a sick, cruel monster."

 

 

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