The father of 7-year-old Athena Strand is suing the delivery driver suspected in her killing, FedEx, and the contractor who hired him.
According to police, the girl was killed in front of her home by a FedEx driver, 31-year-old Tanner Horner.
Jacob Strand filed the lawsuit Tuesday and argues that FedEx holds “significant control” over employees and contractors who deliver packages. The lawsuit also states that FedEx and Big Topspin, the contractor who hired Horner, were negligent and failed to properly supervise and investigate Horner’s past.
Additionally, the lawsuit argues that FedEx delivery drivers have recently committed numerous assaults, rapes and murders across the country, showing a trend of irresponsibility at the company. One example includes a 2022 case in New York where a driver murdered a woman and burned her house to the ground.
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“FedEx has continued their normal business operations although it is clear that their current efforts, if any, to ensure, that they are not putting dangerous persons in a position of trust wearing FedEx uniforms, driving FedEx branded vehicles and sending them to the doorsteps of the homes of nearly every person in America is woefully inadequate to avoid endangering the public,” the lawsuit stated in part.
FedEx previously released a statement saying their thoughts are with the family, and the company is cooperating fully with law enforcement.
"Words cannot describe our shock and sorrow at the reports surrounding this tragic event. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family during this most difficult time, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities," the company said. "At this time, any further questions should be directed to law enforcement."
U.S. & World
The company responded to Strand's lawsuit in a statement to NBC 5.
“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," the company said.
Authorities early on learned that Horner was the delivery driver that had been to the Strand home at about the time Athena disappeared. Working with FedEx, officials located him and was taken into custody where he confessed to abducting and killing the 7-year-old, authorities said.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by NBC 5, Tanner Lynn Horner confessed to the crime and told police he accidentally hit 7-year-old Strand while backing up in his marked delivery truck but that young girl was not seriously injured.
He told investigators he panicked and put the girl into his van and that she was talking to him and told him her name was Athena.
When the child said she was going to tell her father about being hit by the truck, Horner told police, he strangled the girl with his bare hands.
During the interview with detectives, Horner told police where he put her body where she was found two days after her disappearance. A funeral was held for her on Dec. 9.