Athena Strand Murder: Father Sues Dallas Contractor FedEx

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

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

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

Arrest affidavits obtained by the WFAA said Tanner Horner had confessed to kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Athena Strand after accidentally driving her in the van he was driving when he reversed after dropping off a package what turned out to be Strand’s Christmas presents.

Strand’s father is suing Horner, FedEx and Big Topspin, Inc., the contractor who hired Horner, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit accuses the companies of negligence in hiring Horner and says they failed to implement safety policies and procedures. Bill Ray was appointed by the court to be Horner’s attorney, according to the Wise County court coordinator.

The WFAA located the Dallas-based contractor on Saturday, December 10 but declined to comment on Horner’s hiring.

Across the country, FedEx relies on its 6,000 contractors who employ staff to provide package pickup and delivery services.

According to a FedEx spokesman “Employees at these service companies are subject to criminal background checks as part of the driver licensing process. As is standard across the industry and considered standard employment practice, the background check process will be performed by a third party.”

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

Last week, the WFAA reached out to the shipping giant, asking how long Horner had been contracted with FedEx, when he started driving for the company, how many drivers are contracted through Big Topspin, and what hiring protocols FedEx requires for Big Topspin.

The speaker replied “Service companies use their own people, vehicles and equipment, so we are not at liberty to discuss details of personnel employed by service providers.”

When asked about the lawsuit, a FedEx spokesman said he was aware of the lawsuit.

Our thoughts remain with Athena Strand’s family following this tragedy. We are aware of the complaint against FedEx Ground.

Strand was buried on Friday 9 December; She was cremated and her ashes placed in an urn, her mother told the WFAA. Athena Strand Murder: Father Sues Dallas Contractor FedEx

Laura Coffey

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