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Murder suspect in Hannah Bender's death now in custody
Austin Todd Stryker
Austin Todd Stryker

Oct. 2 update: Authorities say Austin Todd Stryker, the man who is considered a murder suspect in the recent death of a Lumpkin County woman, has been taken into custody.

After several weeks spent on the run from multiple law enforcement agencies, Stryker turned himself in to authorities in Pittsburg, authorities reported on Wednesday morning.

"Efforts to return him to (Georgia) are in progress," the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said via Twitter.

Stryker is accused of killing Hannah Bender, a 21-year-old woman from Dahlonega, whose body was discovered in a shallow grave off Parks Road in north Forsyth on Sept. 25.

On Oct. 2, Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson told the Dawson County News that officials from Dawson, Lumpkin and Forsyth counties and the GBI met in Hall County the previous day to discuss the case and where the case would be centered.

Johnson said that based on new evidence that has been uncovered, there is a possibility that the case could go to court in Dawson County.

“I don’t think anything’s been absolutely made finalized yet, but it looks like this is going to be a Dawson County case,” Johnson said.

This information was published in the Forsyth County News, a sister publication of The Times

Previous story: Four arrests now have been made in a murder investigation spanning multiple counties.

On Monday shortly after midnight, Isaac Huff and Dylan Reid were arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Dawson County in connection with the murder of 21-year-old Hannah Bender.

They are currently being held in the Dawson County Detention Center along with Jerry Harper and Elizabeth Donaldson, two other persons of interests in the case.

According to Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson, the two have now been charged and are being held without bond. 

Huff, of Dawsonville, has been charged with one felony count of concealing a death for allegedly hindering the discovery of her body by allowing another to keep Bender’s body on his property. 

Reid, also of Dawsonville, has been charged with one felony count of tampering with evidence. He is accused of knowingly concealing evidence in the murder of Hannah Bender.

Reid is also charged with one felony count of concealing a death for allegedly assisting another with placing Bender’s body on the property.

Harper was apprehended by Dawson County deputies Friday afternoon.

The GBI stated on Thursday, Sept. 26 that the agency had taken warrants out for Harper for “concealment of a dead body” and “tampering with evidence” in Forsyth County.

Bender was reported missing in Lumpkin County by her mother on Sept. 19 and shortly after bloody clothing was found in nearby Dawson County.

Remains believed to be Bender’s were recovered from a shallow grave in north Forsyth County.

It is believed that Bender was killed at a campsite in Lumpkin County. Following Bender’s disappearance, the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office issued murder warrants for Austin Todd Stryker, who is considered a prime suspect in the case.

Stryker, who has been accused of murdering Bender, is still on the run from authorities. On Thursday the U.S. Marshals Service announced that it would be offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to Stryker’s capture.

Stryker is considered armed and dangerous, according to authorities.

Stryker’s wife, Elizabeth Donaldson, 21, has been arrested by the GBI in connection with Bender’s death. She was charged with tampering with evidence and is being held in the Dawson County Detention Center.

Forsyth County News reporter Alex Popp contributed to this report.

Hannah Bender.jpg
Hannah Bender
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