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Mum of seven-year-old kidnapped and killed says she wants the death penalty

Mum of seven-year-old kidnapped and killed says she wants the death penalty

The heartbroken mum wants the man who killed her daughter to face the death penalty.

The mum of a murdered seven-year-old is calling for her daughter's killer to be put to death.

Maitlyn Gandy made the comments during her first interview after the death of young Athena Strand, who was kidnapped and strangled to death by a delivery driver outside her home in Dallas. You can watch an excerpt from the heartbreaking interview below:

Strand was first reported missing from her father's home on November 30, with her body being found two days later.

Tanner Horner, 31, admits he killed Athena. He told investigators that he accidentally ran Strand over before panicking and strangling her.

In her interview with WFAA, a Dallas news station, Gandy said she hoped that Horner would be executed.

Tanner Horner admits to strangling Athena Strand.
Texas Department of Public Safety

Gandy said: "I support the death penalty. In any sentencing that may come.

"Every breath he takes is one my daughter doesn't.

"If I could sit down in front of him, I would tell him that he is nothing, but that Athena is absolutely everything, and I will make sure that everybody in this world knows that he is nothing and that she is everything."

Horner is currently facing charges of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.

In Texas, the death penalty still exists as a form of punishment, but is used less and less - with only two people being sentenced to death in 2022.

Horner claims that Athena wasn't seriously when he first struck her with his van.

Athena's mother Maitlyn Gandy gave her first interview following the crime.

After placing the injured girl into his van, the FedEx driver claims he tried to break her neck, before resorting to strangling her.

Gandy said: "We are very forgiving people. If Athena was not injured or even if she had a few bumps and scrapes, he could have just driven away. We could have forgiven him.

"Accidents do happen, but he chose to do more - and what he did was unforgivable. I have a hard time believing Athena couldn't have walked away.

"Athena could have just walked away, and I wish he would have let her."

Since Strand's tragic death, her younger sister has been desperately missing her.

Gandy said: "It's been rough for our family. For my other three-year-old. She doesn't understand why she can't call 'sissy' or why she hasn't come home yet.

"It's a long time for her to go without seeing her sister.

"We're coping. We're trying to function. It's been long. Hard but very chaotic at the same time.

"I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm confused. I am doing my best."

Featured Image Credit: Maitlyn Gandy wants justice for her murdered daughter Athena Strand. Credit: Texas Dept. of Public Safety NBC News