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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Sravasti Dasgupta and Oliver O'Connell

Athena Strand – live: Grandfather says he ‘forgives’ accused killer as suspect’s chilling song lyrics emerge

Facebook / Maitlyn Gandy

Community mourns loss

The devastated grandfather of murdered seven-year-old Athena Strand has said that he forgives the “psycho” FedEx driver accused of abducting and killing her – but also wishes he could have “5 minutes alone in a cell” with the suspect.

Mark Strand broke his silence in a heartbreaking Facebook post on Sunday after his granddaughter’s body was discovered around six miles from her home in Paradise, Texas.

Athena vanished from her home on Wednesday and an Amber Alert was issued the next day. Her body was discovered on Friday.

Police said that Tanner Lynn Horner, a 31-year-old FedEx truck driver, had confessed to snatching the little girl before killing her within an hour of her abduction. He is facing charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

No motive has been given and Mr Horner is not believed to have any connection to the little girl.

Following his arrest, the aspiring musician’s chilling song lyrics have emerged: “Sometimes I hear her cries. Silence is the dirtiest trick in life. If im so empty then why do I feel alive.”

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