Mother of Athena Strand Joins Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against FedEx Following Death of Her 7-Year-Old Daughter

In December 2022, the father of Athena StrandJacob Strand – filed a wrongful death lawsuit against FedEx employee Tanner Horner and his employer, Big Topspin – a FedEx subcontractor – for their actions and negligence in the death of his 7-year-old daughter. Athena was tragically discovered dead on December 2nd. 

Last Friday, the mother of Athena – Maitlyn Gandyjoined the lawsuit in hopes of ensuring something like this doesn’t happen to another child. The family believes companies like FedEx should be more diligent when it comes to the hiring, training, and supervising process and are seeking $1 million in damages.

Mother of Athena Strand Shares Heartfelt Tribute After Daughter is Kidnapped and Murdered at Just 7 Years Old
via YouTube (CBSDFW)

In December, Gandy spoke about the moment she found out her daughter was killed – following the confession from Horner. “I remember feeling broken and empty, and I couldn’t breathe. It took my dad and the FBI trauma agent to help me start breathing again,” she admitted in her very first TV interview. 

RELATED: Father of Athena Strand Files Lawsuit Against FedEx, Big TopSpin, and the Driver Who Murdered Her

After joining the lawsuit last week, Gandy’s legal team and attorneys wrote that they hoped the lawsuit sheds light on the immediate need for a ‘better hiring, training, and supervising practices to prevent vicious killers from arriving at our doorsteps bearing an insignia that has been cultivated to instill trust.” 

Following his confession, the public learned that he had been accused of rape three years prior – though he doesn’t appear to have any past criminal history and was never indicted on any charges. Still, families across the country now fear that something similar might happen to their child during a FedEx delivery.

“It is about preventing billion-dollar organizations from insulating themselves from liability by using fly-by-night contractors instead of acknowledging the responsibility they bear when we trust them to come on our property,  to our doorsteps, and even inside our homes,” the attorneys added in their statement.

Just one week ago, Horner was found guilty of murder and kidnapping. He is currently being held on bonds that total more than $1.5 million. Not only that, but Horner still faces potential punishment on four charges of sexually assaulting a child – that case is in no way involved with the killing of Athena Strand.

What Happened to Athena Strand in December?

Athena Strand was outside playing in the driveway of her Wise County, TX home on November 30th when she suddenly disappeared. The disappearance happened around the same time the family received a FedEx delivery – which was a box of ‘You Can Be Anything’ barbie dolls, a Christmas present for Athena.

Police immediately began a county-wide search for the girl. Her body was found along the edge of the Trinity River, roughly nine miles from the family’s home, on December 2nd. It wasn’t until the following day that Horner – who was already named a suspect – made his horrific and heartbreaking confession.

In his confession, he admitted to hitting Athena Strand with his FedEx truck as he was backing out of the driveway. While she wasn’t seriously injured by the accident, she threatened to tell her father about what happened. In response, he kidnapped and strangled her to death before dumping her body in the water. 

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Now, the family wants Horner, FedEx, and TopSpin to be held accountable for their gross negligence – hence the lawsuit. The company has since released a brief statement. “Our thoughts remain with the family of Athena Strand in the wake of this tragedy. We are aware of the complaint filed,” wrote FedEx. 

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