Athena Strand

AMBER Alert: Search Continues for 7-year-old Texas Girl Who Vanished from Home After Fight with Stepmother

The search for a missing 7-year-old Texas girl continues into its second day.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Athena Strand was last seen Wednesday evening in the 200 block of County Road 3573, at her father’s home in Paradise. Police told reporters that Athena may have run away after an argument with her parents. However, they have not yet ruled anything out, including abduction.

Amber’s stepmother reported her missing at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and said she’d been looking for her daughter but couldn’t find her. Police say the child’s father was not home when she disappeared, CBS News reports, while the stepmother said she had an argument with Athena before the disappearance, which may have prompted her to run off.

Police, however, said Tuesday that nothing is being ruled out this time, including a possible abduction situation.

“We’re looking at everything from the criminal standpoint or just a missing child so we’re not going to leave anything unturned,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said.

Neighbor Melina Owens reportedly said that Athena never walks anywhere alone unless it’s next door, where her grandmother lives.

“The only time she left was to go to her grandmother’s house next door— and that’s family,” Owens said, according to CBS DFW. “She’s not OK with being in the dark. She doesn’t like the cold.”

Another neighbor, Chasity Allerkamp, said they searched all around the areas near Athena’s home without luck, including abandoned sheds and barns.

Athena’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, who lives in Oklahoma, told FOX 4 that she has sole custody but allowed Athena to spend the fall semester with her stepmother and father.

Police said the child’s parents are being cooperative.

Athena stands 4 feet tall and weighs about 65 pounds. She has blue eyes and dirty blond hair. She was last seen wearing blue jeans with white flowers on the front pockets, a gray and black long-sleeve shirt, light brown boots, and could possibly have on a flannel overskirt.

The Texas Department of Public Safety and numerous other law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search, along with community volunteers. Police said no more volunteers are needed and are asking the public not to show up for the search.

The Amber Alert indicates that “law enforcement believes the child’s safety and health are in danger.” Anyone with information should call the Wise County Sheriff’s Office at 940-627-5971.

Check back for updates.

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[Featured image: Police Handout]