Body of 7-year-old missing from north Texas found; Officials arrest delivery driver who was dropping package off at her home when she disappeared

Athena Strand (Wise County Sheriff's Office)

WISE COUNTY, Texas – Authorities from Wise County say they have recovered the body of 7-year-old Athena Strand who disappeared from north Texas Wednesday evening.

According to NBCDFW, officials from the sheriff’s office said they have arrested a FedEx driver in her abduction who was delivering a package to Athena’s home on Wednesday.

On the third day of the search for 7-year-old Athena Strand a large police presence was seen Friday night seven miles from the property where Athena Strand disappeared on Wednesday.

It is unclear exactly how Athena died, at this time.

Here’s what happened:

Sheriff Lane Akin said the girl was alone with her stepmother Wednesday after her father left to go on a hunting trip. He said the stepmother called 911 to report Athena missing after a quarrel.

Her aunt Keeland Kulbeth from Oklahoma who came to join the search said she can’t believe Athena would just walk away.

“She may have been upset at the dad’s leaving, and may have, I don’t know honestly, just from what I was told, she may have gotten upset,” Kulbeth said. “She loved people, loved animals, loved flowers. She’s a very girly girl. I just can’t see her running off and leaving.”

An Amber Alert was issued for the girl Thursday after she’d been missing for almost 24 hours.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean we expect foul play but we understand that could be a possibility,” Akin said.

Athena had been riding a bus to school in Wise County each day but several people said she was about to move to live with her birth mother in Oklahoma, Kulbeth’s sister.

“We have been told that,” Akin said.

The sheriff said investigators are talking with all the family members and the search for evidence in the case continues.

About the Author:

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.