Jacob Strand, the grieving father of Athena Strand, filed a lawsuit on December 13th after his 7-year-old daughter was accidentally hit by a FedEx truck, kidnapped by the panicking driver, and later killed by the same driver – all of which happened on November 30th. Athena’s body was found on December 2nd.
The lawsuit names three defendants – Tanner Lynn Horner, FedEx, and Big TopSpin. Horner was the driver and was charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping following his arrest on December 3rd. He worked for a company called Big TopSpin, which was contracted by FedEx to deliver packages.
The family of Athena Strand is seeking more than $1 million in damages as a result of gross negligence (by all three defendants) and assault (by just Horner). More specifically, the two companies are being sued for negligent hiring practices, failure to supervise its employee, and failure to enforce safety policy.
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“This is a tragic case involving a seven-year-old girl whose life was taken from her when she was taken from the front yard of her home by a FedEx Ground delivery person,” the family wrote in the lawsuit. FedEx has since released a brief statement regarding the lawsuit, but Big TopSpin has remained silent.
“Their current efforts, if any, to ensure that they are not putting dangerous persons in a position of trust wearing FedEx uniforms, driving FedEx branded vehicles, and sending them to the doorsteps of the homes of nearly every person in America is woefully inadequate,” the lawsuit continues to allege.
Horner was the one that led authorities to the body, which was found on December 2nd in a body of water located about 11 miles from the child’s home. He confessed to accidentally hitting Athena Strand with his delivery truck and, while the 7-year-old wasn’t seriously injured, he panicked that she would tell someone.
In a sudden panic, Horner grabbed the little girl and put her in his van. Figuring he was already in too deep, Horner decided to strangle Athena to death and dispose of her body. “Our thoughts remain with the family of Athena Strand in the wake of this tragedy. We are aware of the complaint filed,” said FedEx.
Horner Was Delivering Christmas Presents for Athena Strand
It has been two weeks since Athena Strand was kidnapped and strangled to death. As more details and information is released, we’re learning just how gruesome and tragic the incident was. What started out as an accident with no ill will or bad intent behind it, ended in a rather violent and disheartening manner.
During a press conference on December 8th, Athena’s mother explained that Horner was delivering what were going to be Christmas presents for her daughter – the gift was a set of Barbie dolls. He delivered that package just moments before hitting, kidnapping, and killing Athena in a horribly tragic series of events.
“Athena was robbed of the opportunity to grow up to be anything she wanted to be. And this present, ordered out of innocence and love, is one she will never receive,” said Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy. The holiday season was supposed to be one filled with joy, but now it will be one filled with emptiness.
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“I was supposed to bring Athena back to our home in Oklahoma after Christmas break. Now, instead, Athena will be cremated and come home in an urn because I am not even close to being ready to let her go,” Gandy continued as she detailed the horrific aftermath of Horner’s terrible string of decisions.
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