Athena Strand’s mother shares heartbreaking video of murdered 7-year-old’s sister sobbing

The grieving mother of murdered Athena Strand has shared a heartbreaking video of the seven-year-old’s sister sobbing because she missed her days before she vanished.

Athena’s mother Maitlyn Presley Gandy posted the video to Facebook on Monday, three days after her child was found dead in Paradise, Texas. The little girl was reported missing on Wednesday (30 November) and suspect Tanner Lynn Horner is now charged with her abduction and murder.

Ms Gandy explained that the video of her other daughter sobbing uncontrollably for her “sissy” was taken days before Athena went missing, as the seven-year-old was visiting her father in Texas. At the time, Ms Gandy said she assured the unconsolable girl that her sister would be back with them in Oklahoma soon.

“That video of [redacted] begging for her sissy was Sunday 11/27 when we thought sissy would only be gone a few days. I kept telling her, ‘it’s okay, we will see sissy soon,’ not knowing how twisted our lives would become,” Ms Gandy wrote.

“I took it because she does this anytime she thinks sissy is going somewhere without her. She cried for thirty minutes straight in the car until she cried herself to sleep.”

Ms Gandy also thanked the community for the outpouring of support and asked people in Wise County and across the US to wear pink in tribute to her daughter, who loved everything pink and sparkly.

The heartbroken mother described her daughter’s alleged killer, Mr Horner, as a “monster” who has also caused unimaginable pain to the family.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told reporters that Mr Horner had allegedly confessed to her abduction and murder. He directed authorities to Athena’s body, which was found six miles from her home.

Athena was last seen at her home on the 200 Block of County Rd 3573 in Paradise, at about 5.40pm on 30 November. According to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, she had been dropped off from school at 4.30pm that day.

She reportedly left the family home after a quarrel with her stepmother. Her father was away on a deer hunting trip at the time.

The girl’s stepmother called 911 at about 6.40pm after she couldn’t find the child.

Athena Strand (Miatlyn Presley Godny)
Athena Strand (Miatlyn Presley Godny)

Deputies responding to the 911 call canvassed the area around her home and a day later, authorities issued an Amber Alert for her.

Overnight on Thursday, local police and the Texas Department of Public Safety continued to search for Athena using helicopters with thermal imaging and K-9 units.

On Friday, authorities announced they had taken a FedEx delivery driver into custody who had been at Athena’s home at the time of her disappearance.

Authorities believe Athena died within an hour of her abduction, but did not provide further details on how she was killed.

“It’s one of the toughest investigations I have been involved in because it’s a child,” Mr Akin said at the press conference, according to Fox4.

“Any time there’s a child that dies it just hits you in your heart.”

According to Wise County Jail records, Mr Horner was booked at 2am on Friday on one count of capital murder of a person under 10 and aggravated kidnapping. His bond was set at $1.5m.

Mr Horner has worked as an Uber driver, according to reports, and posted on social media about being a musician.