Athena Strand's mother speaks publicly for the first time since daughter's death
Maitlyn Gandy spoke to a crowd of thousands at a candlelight memorial at Cottondale Baptist Church on Tuesday night. Strand was kidnapped and killed outside of her Wise County home. Delivery driver Tanner Lynn Horner confessed to abducting the girl, according to the Wise County Sheriff.
Athena Strand's mother, Maitlyn Gandy spoke publicly for the first time since her PARADISE, Texas - 7-year-old daughter was kidnapped and killed at a candlelight vigil for her daughter.
Thousands of people gathered for
the event outside of Cottondale Baptist Church on Tuesday night wearing pink, Athena's favorite color.
Gandy held back tears while addressing the crowd.
Read her full comments here:
Y’all are amazing people and I don’t know how to thank you guys for all you have done for my family, and especially for my baby. I just want you all to know that she was amazing and she would truthfully love every single one of you because she loves every single human that she has ever met. And every animal she has ever met. And I just wanted to say thank you to all the volunteers for coming out and supporting her. Even if you guys did not look for her, I know people were sharing her story all over social media. I just want to keep her face and her story alive, because I want everyone to know Athena for Athena, not for what someone tried to make her out to be. Because she's the best little girl. She really was. Y'all are making me cry saying ‘Athena Strong’. I needed to be strong for her because I figured I won't be strong by the end of this. I hope she waits for me baby. Thank you all and please I don't care if it is 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now: remember Athena Strand. Thank you guys.
— Maitlyn Gandy, mother of Athena Strand
Athena’s mother came to North Texas from Oklahoma shortly after learning her daughter had disappeared last week.
ATHENA STRAND COVERAGE Athena Strand: Thousands gather for memorial service for 7-year-old
With encouragement from the crowd, Athena’s mother gave her first public statement since her daughter's murder. She made the appearance on stage at a vigil for her daughter in Wise County Tuesday.
31-year-old Tanner Horner is currently in the Wise County Jail charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Horner, a delivery driver, confessed to the crime.
Investigators have not released any information about a possible motive.