Breaking News
More () »

'I forgive this man': Grandfather of Athena Strand posts emotional message about the man accused of abducting, killing her

The Wise County Sheriff's Office said Tanner Horner, 31, confessed to abducting and killing the 7-year-old girl.

WISE COUNTY, Texas — "I can't quiet my mind and I have to share this."

That's the way Mark Strand began his long, emotional Facebook post about his granddaughter, Athena Strand, and the man charged with her abduction and murder. 

"This flesh, this man that I am, is angry and I want five minutes alone in a cell with the psycho that took our Athena away from us, but there’s a soft gentle voice in the back of my head telling me I need to forgive him," Strand wrote in the post. 

Tanner Horner, 31, faces charges for capital murder and aggravated kidnapping, after the Wise County Sheriff's Office said he confessed to abducting and killing the 7-year-old girl.

Athena Strand was reported missing last Wednesday evening. Law enforcement and volunteers spent nearly two days searching for her. 

Investigators found her body Friday night, saying they believe she was killed within an hour of being abducted Wednesday. 

An official autopsy revealing cause of death and court documents with more details in the case are expected to be released soon. 

“There’s not one ounce of my flesh that wants to do this or say this, but my spirit has heard God’s voice and right now, while tears flood my eyes, I declare publicly that I forgive this man! Hate will not win," Strand wrote in the post. 

Athena Strand's mother, Maitlyn Presley Gandy, also wrote a number of Facebook posts over the weekend. She thanked the law enforcement officers and volunteers who spent hours searching for her daughter and has posted a number of photos of Athena throughout her life. 

“No one deserves what happened to you, but especially you. I love you and love doesn’t even cover it. Mommy is broken without you," Presley Gandy wrote. 

Presley Gandy also posted Horner's mugshot and wrote, "This is the monster that took my baby from me and this world. You will know her name, Tanner.”

School districts across the state, including Paradise ISD, are asking everyone to wear pink on Monday because it was Athena's favorite color.

Before You Leave, Check This Out