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Athena Strand murder: Father sues FedEx, Dallas contractor

Strand’s father is suing Tanner Horner, FedEx and Big Topspin, Inc., the contractor used to hire Horner.

DALLAS — The father of the late 7-year-old Athena Strand filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the suspect in her killing, FedEx and the Dallas-based contractor that hired the suspect, according to court documents.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Wise County District Court. Strand’s father is seeking over $1,000,000 in damages and a trial by jury, according to the lawsuit.

Arrest affidavits obtained by WFAA stated that Tanner Horner confessed to adducting and killing 7-year-old Athena Strand after he accidentally hit her with the van he was driving while backing up after dropping off a package, which turned out to be Strand’s Christmas presents.

Strand’s father is suing Horner, FedEx and Big Topspin, Inc., the contractor used to hire Horner, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit accuses the companies of negligence in their hiring of Horner and says they failed to implement safety policies and procedures.

WFAA located the Dallas-based contractor on Saturday, Dec. 10, but would not comment on Horner’s hiring.

Across the country, FedEx relies on its 6,000 contractors that provide package pickup and delivery services using their employees. 

Per a FedEx spokesperson, “The employees of these service provider companies are subject to criminal history background checks as part of the driver eligibility process. As is common across the industry and considered standard employment practice, the background check process is administered by a third party.”

Horner has no known criminal history, and FedEx didn’t elaborate when asked questions about his employment. 

Last week, WFAA reached out to the shipping giant and asked how long Horner had been contracted to work with FedEx, when he began driving for the company, how many drivers are contracted through Big Topspin, and what FedEx’s prescribed hiring protocols are for Big Topspin. 

The spokesperson replied, “Service provider companies utilize their own employees, vehicles, and equipment. As such, we are not at liberty to discuss details of personnel employed by service providers.”

Strand was laid to rest on Friday, Dec. 9; she was cremated and had her ashes put into an urn, her mother told WFAA. 

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