June 14, 2023- Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law the new Bill that will lower the threshold for local missing child alerts.
House Bill 3556 allows law enforcement in Texas to send out localized alerts- known as “Athena Alert”- within a 100-mile radius of where a child has gone missing and in adjacent counties.
The law was inspired after the tragic death of 7-year-old Athena Strand in November. Strand was found dead 2 miles away from her fathers home two days after she went missing. Police arrested former FedEx delivery driver Tanner Horner in connection with her death. He’s charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.
Strand went missing from her father’s home in Cottondale Nov. 30 of last year, but without initial evidence of an abduction, an Amber Alert was not issued for nearly 24 hours. Two days after she disappeared, delivery driver Tanner Horner led authorities to Strand’s body near Boyd.
The bill was created and sponsored by Wise County’s representatives in Austin. Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Sanger) filed House Bill 3556 in March, and it was passed by the Texas House of Representatives on May 9. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) in the Senate, where it passed May 24.
The Homeland Security and Public Safety committee voted unanimously to advance the Bill to the Texas House of Representatives, where it was passed by a 139-3 vote. The Bill passed 31-0 in the senate.