Jacob Strand, the father of Athena Strand, is seeking $1 million in damages from Tanner Horner, the alleged murderer, as well as FedEx, and Big Topspin, the contractor that hired Horner.
The lawsuit, which also requests a jury trial, alleges that FedEx drivers have committed numerous crimes, including sexual assault, rape, and murder, which, the lawsuit claims, shows a pattern of irresponsibility by the company.
Horner, 31, allegedly confessed, according to an arrest affidavit, to hitting Athena with a truck while backing up. He had reportedly just delivered her Christmas present containing a box of Barbie dolls. Horner then allegedly said he put her in the truck and later killed her after Athena said she would tell her father about being struck by his delivery vehicle.
Fox 4 reportedly knocked on the door of Big Topspin, asking for a comment from the company. A woman, who identified herself as the owner, said she was told not to comment, but would possibly be releasing a statement soon.
FedEx utilizes more than 6,000 contractors for pickup and delivery service.
“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,” a FedEx spokesperson wrote to WFAA when asked about the company’s hiring process.
A funeral was held for Athena on Friday. Her body was cremated with plans for her mother, Maitlyn Gandy, to bring her ashes back to Oklahoma.
Initially, an Amber Alert was issued for Athena, but she was found dead only two days later on December 2.
Last week, Gandy said an investigation is being launched into what responsibility FedEx may have had in the event.
“I was robbed of watching her grow up by a man that everyone was supposed to be able to trust to do one simple task, deliver Christmas packages and leave,” Gandy said. “The joy Athena gave her family and the joy she felt at Christmas is something we will never feel with her again.”
Thousands attended a vigil last week in Paradise, Texas, in honor of Athena, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.