After reportedly admitting to killing 7-year-old Athena Strand, delivery driver Tanner Horner is getting sued by the victim’s father.
North Texas news station WFAA reported on Wednesday that Strand’s father filed suit against the 31-year-old suspect. The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, also lists FedEx and the Dallas-area contractor that hired Horner.
Strand’s father has asked for a trial by jury and more than $1 million in damages, per WFAA.
Newsweek reported last week that Horner confessed to law enforcement that he strangled the child after he’d unintentionally backed into her with the FedEx van. The suspect had driven to her residence in Paradise, Texas, to drop off a package.
Strand’s mother has revealed that the delivery made to the home was a Christmas present for the young girl: a box of “You Can Be Anything” Barbie dolls.
The recently filed lawsuit alleges that FedEx and the contractor had been negligent by hiring Horner. It further accuses the companies of not having carried out the proper safety policies and procedures.
Horner’s arrest warrant said that the contractor that brought on Horner was Big Topspin Inc.
FedEx has some 6,000 contractors nationwide that offer delivery services via their workers, as well as package pickups, WFAA noted.
A FedEx spokesperson further explained: “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.”
On Friday, December 9—more than a week after Strand’s November 30 disappearance—FedEx released a statement on its website.
“We share in the collective grief surrounding this heartbreaking tragedy and our thoughts remain with the family of Athena Strand,” the statement read. “We continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities.”
FedEx hadn’t responded to Newsweek‘s request for comment by publication time. However, the shipping giant told WFAA that “it was aware of the lawsuit.” It also did not respond to specific questions about the details surrounding Horner’s employment.
In addition, a FedEx spokesperson reportedly said that service provider companies use their own equipment and vehicles, as well as their own employees. The rep added: “As such, we are not at liberty to discuss details of personnel employed by service providers.”
Horner doesn’t appear to have a criminal history, but one woman took to social media three years ago to accuse him of rape.
Newsweek reached out to Horner’s attorney for comment.