In a wrongful death case that the child’s father filed back in December, the mother of Athena Strand, a 7-year-old Texas girl who was allegedly slain by a FedEx worker, is now taking part.
According to Buzzfeed News, Strand’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, joined the case last week, two months after Athena’s father, Jacob Strand, initially did so in December.
The lawsuit names FedEx and BigTopspin as Strand’s alleged killer Tanner Lynn Horner’s subcontractor and employer, respectively.Horner allegedly confessed to the killing and guided police to Strand’s body.
In the lawsuit, according to Buzzfeed, Strand’s parents accuse Big Topspin and FedEx of being negligent in the hiring, training, and supervision of the contractor, as well as accusing the firms of failing to adequately investigate his criminal or employment past.
In her request to join the lawsuit, Gandy stated that her attorneys wanted to affect change at FedEx.
To stop ruthless killers from showing up at our homes with an emblem that has been developed to inspire trust, they stated, “It is about instituting better hiring, training, and supervisory methods.”
The attorneys continued, “It is about prohibiting billion-dollar businesses from shielding themselves from accountability by utilizing fly-by-night contractors instead of accepting the duty they hold when we entrust them to enter our land, visit our doorsteps, or even enter our homes.”
A FedEx representative told PEOPLE on Thursday in a statement, “In the aftermath of this tragedy, our prayers are still with Athena Strand’s family.” “We are aware of the FedEx Ground complaint that has been made.”
According to WFAA, the 18-page lawsuit demands “fair and reasonable” compensation for the “acts and omissions” that contributed to Strand’s passing. Strand’s passing is referred to in the document as “a loss that could have and should have been prevented.”
Authorities claim that Strand was discovered dead approximately 200 yards from her home in Paradise, Texas, last year.
She was first reported missing by her stepmother on Nov. 30, following what is believed to be an argument between the two. Apparently telling authorities he panicked after hitting her with his truck while delivering Christmas goods to her home, Horner, 31, who was delivering packages in her area at the time of the abduction, hit her with his van.
According to an arrest affidavit that people had previously seen, Horner admitted to police that he had killed Strand inside his van because he was worried her father would be angry that he had hit her. After striking Strand, he allegedly told police that she wasn’t gravely hurt and that he had killed her out of fear that she would tell her father what had happened.
Horner, 31, was charged with murder and kidnapping on February 16 and is currently being held in the Wise County jail under a $1.5 million bond. At the time, the sheriff of Wise County stated that he did not believe the girl was hit by the truck.
According to Wise County jail records, he has also been charged with three counts of sexually assaulting a kid. Whether Strand was a target is unknown. A woman has since come forward, reiterating earlier claims that Horner sexually assaulted her when she was a minor. She published the allegations on her Facebook page, and it’s not known whether Horner was ever charged in connection with the claimed incident or whether a police report was ever made.
Gandy later claimed to reporters that she was “robbed of watching [Athena] grow up by a man everyone was supposed to trust with just one basic task—ddeliver a Christmas present and depart,” according to KTVT-TV.
She said, “She was a wonderful little child who enjoyed singing, dancing, and all animals.” She also enjoyed going to school and hanging out with her first-grade friends, all of whom are now dealing with her terrible murder. Although she likes flowers as well, Athena wasn’t hesitant to play in the dirt with the boys. She was the daughter of her father.
Asserting that “screening and hiring standards must be put in place so that monsters wearing delivery uniforms don’t show up on our children’s doorsteps,” Gandy also committed to fighting to guarantee that thorough background checks are carried out by delivery businesses.