Athena Strand: Texans asked to wear pink on Monday to honour 7-year-old girl abducted and killed

Athena Strand: Texans asked to wear pink on Monday to honour 7-year-old girl abducted and killed

Texans have been asked to wear pink on Monday in honour of seven-year-old Athena Strand, who was found dead after her abduction on 30 November.

Police issued an Amber alert when Athena was reported missing from rural Wise County in Texas. Her body was later found on Friday, 2 December.

Wise County Judge J D Clark said in a statement that pink was Athena’s favourite colour and urged everyone to wear pink on Monday.

“My heart is so heavy about Athena,” the judge added. “Additionally, I encourage everyone to join me at 6.30pm on Monday on the Courthouse steps to pray for Athena, her family, our first responders and our community.”

The suspect, identified as 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner, has confessed to abducting and killing the girl.

Police said that Horner was working as a contract FedEx driver. He was delivering a package to the Strand house when the abduction allegedly happened, authorities have said.

School districts throughout Texas, including Paradise Independent School District where Strand was a student, have also urged residents to wear pink on Monday to pay tribute to the girl.

Rod Townsend, superintendent of Paradise Independent School District, called for the school community to pray for the child and her family.

“It is with a sad and heavy heart that I address you. We lost a precious member of our student body. Athena Strand was tragically lost this past week,” Mr Townsend wrote in a post addressed to the school district’s community of students, staff and parents.

“This world will forever be different because she wasn’t allowed to grow and develop into the precious young lady she was meant to be.”

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On Friday, when Strand’s body was found, the Wise County Sheriff, Lane Atin told the media that this was “one of the toughest investigations I have ever been involved in”.

“Any time there is a child that dies, it just hits you in your heart. You compare that child to your own children when they were at that age.”

Mr Horner is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

A candlelight vigil is being held at First Baptist Church, Cottondale at 6pm on 6 December.