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Athena Strand update: Amber alert in search for missing 7-year-old Texas girl who vanished from Paradise home


AMBER Alert issued for 7-year-old Wise County girl

A desperate search is underway in Texas for a seven-year-old girl who vanished two days ago.

An Amber Alert was issued on Thursday for Athena Strand, who vanished the night before in Paradise.

According to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the child was dropped off from school at her home in Paradise at 4.30pm on Wednesday. Her stepmother reportedly called police to report her missing around 6.40pm that day when she didn’t find Athena in her room after an argument.

Officials said during a press conference on Friday that the argument was not “unusual” and that the child “walked away” but didn’t come back.

It is believed her health and safety may be in danger and although foul play is not suspected at this time, an abduction has not been ruled out, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said.

Meanwhile, Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Presley Gandy, pleaded on social media for the public’s help.

“Athena didn’t walk away or disappear on her own. I will not give up or stop until I have Athena back,” Ms Presley wrote.

On Friday evening authorities taped off a car on a rural road around ten miles from Athena’s home, but no information was immediately released on it.

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Case transitioned from search to investigation, police say

ICYMI: At a press conference on Friday, authorities in Wise County, Texas, announced that the Athena Strand case was being transitioned from a search to an investigation.

Sheriff Lane Akin cautioned that foul play is not suspected at this time, but it is still in the realm of possibility.

Mr Akin said there is no evidence at this point to suggest that Athena was abducted, but that is also a possibility.

More than 300 volunteers have been assisting a large group of police officers in the search in the 48 hours since Athena vanished.

Dog teams, helicopters and thermal imaging are also being used.

Athena was last seen wearing a shirt, jeans with flowers on the pockets and brown boots.

On the whole, details about her disappearance remain sparse.

Graeme Massie3 December 2022 03:15

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Who is Athena Strand?

ICYMI: Seven-year-old Athena Strand has been missing from her home in Paradise, Texas, since Wednesday (30 November).

An Amber Alert was issued for her the following day after she was reported missing by her stepmother, according to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

The stepmother made the report around 6.40pm Wednesday when she found Athena was not in her room following an argument.

Officials said during a press conference on Friday that the argument was not “unusual” and that the child “walked away” but didn’t come back.

It is believed her health and safety may be in danger and although foul play is not suspected at this time, an abduction has not been ruled out, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said.

“Then stepmom went to fix dinner, came back to get Athena, and Athena wasn’t in her room,” Mr Akin said.

The Independent’s Andrea Blanco has more:

Graeme Massie3 December 2022 02:03

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Authorities tape off car on rural road

Video from Texas shows that authorities have taped off a section of road with a car on it, around 10 miles from the home of Athena Strand, according to CBS News.

(CBS11)

Graeme Massie3 December 2022 01:54

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FBI join police on rural road in Texas

Media on the scene have reported that FBI agents and DPS have joined Wise County sheriff’s deputies along a stretch of rural road 10 miles from where Athena Strand was last seen.

Graeme Massie3 December 2022 01:16

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Heavy police presence on rural road several miles from home

Police have gathered at CR4599 road in Wise County, Texas, on Friday evening.

Graeme Massie3 December 2022 00:32

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Law enforcement searching ditch seven miles from home

Law enforcement now searching a deep roadside ditch around seven miles from the home where Athena Stroud disappeared from, according to media on the scene.

Graeme Massie2 December 2022 23:35

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Sheriff says parents being ‘very cooperative’ in

ICYMI: Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, lives in southern Oklahoma. Ms Gandy told Fox4 that although she has sole custody of the youngster she allowed her to live with her father for the fall semester in Texas.

“They’re very cooperative,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said about the parents. “They certainly are.”

Graeme Massie2 December 2022 12:01