Family of 7-year-old allegedly killed by delivery driver is suing FedEx
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Featured Image Credit: Court Records / Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo
The parents of a young girl who was allegedly killed by a FedEx contractor are suing the delivery company over wrongful death.
Athena Strand was murdered in November last year after she was allegedly hit by a delivery driver during his rounds in Texas.
The seven-year-old was injured when she was reportedly run over by Tanner Horner, who was working for Big Topspin, a sub-contractor of FedEx, at the time.
According to police, after Athena told Horner that she was going to tell her father what had happened, he strangled her to death.
The young girl's body was found near a country road about six miles from her home two days after her death.
Horner reportedly later confessed to the crime.
However, Athena's mum, Maitlyn Gandy, has now joined the lawsuit filed by her daughter's dad, Jacob Strand, against FedEx, who they hold responsible for her death.
The couple claimed in the court documents, which name Horner and Big Topspin, as well as FedEx, that the companies involved were guilty of failing to properly investigate the employee's criminal record and employment history.
They also claimed that their legal battle is not solely a search for justice in their daughter's name, but also to make sure that large companies such as FedEx can't hide behind sub-contractors to escape liability.
It read: "It is about implementing 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.
"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."
Horner was indicted for murder last week and is currently being held on a $1.5m bond.
According to an arrest affidavit, Horner told police he'd killed Athena inside his van because he was worried what her parents would do if they found out.
Court documents read: "[Horner] stated, when he attempted to break Athena’s neck it did not work so he strangled with his bare hands in the back of the Fed Ex van."
In a case unrelated to death of Athena, Horner is also facing three charges of sexual assault of a minor from 2013.
A spokesperson for FedEx said: "Our thoughts remain with the family of Athena Strand in the wake of this tragedy.
"We are aware of the complaint filed against FedEx Ground."
UNILAD has contacted the company for further comment.