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Suspect in Lumpkin murder investigation returned to Georgia
Austin Todd Stryker.

Austin Todd Stryker, the 22-year-old man who authorities consider a prime murder suspect in the death of a Lumpkin County woman, has been extradited back to Georgia from Pennsylvania, officials say.

According to Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard, Stryker was returned to the custody of the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Oct. 15 for arrest warrants for murder and armed robbery.

Stryker is accused of killing Hannah Bender, a 21-year-old woman from Dahlonega who was reported missing by her mother on Sept. 19. Bender’s body was later discovered buried in a shallow grave off Parks Road in north Forsyth in late September.

At a press conference held following the discovery of Bender’s body, Jarrard told reporters that authorities believe that Bender was killed at a campsite in Lumpkin County, but the search for her body involved law enforcement authorities from multiple agencies and crime scenes in Lumpkin, Dawson and Forsyth counties.

The discovery of Bender’s body sparked a statewide manhunt for Stryker, who after several weeks spent on the run surrendered to authorities in Pittsburg on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

On Friday, Jarrard said that in addition to the warrant for murder, Stryker is being charged with armed robbery for an unrelated robbery at a Lumpkin County Dollar General that took place in July.

Jarrard said that Stryker is currently being held in custody in Lumpkin County, but that he could be moved to a different county based on the outcome of the ongoing GBI investigation.

"The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is still pursuing the case to see where the jurisdiction will fall,” he said.

In addition to Stryker’s arrest, authorities have charged five other individuals in connection with Bender’s death.

Those arrests include the following individuals:

Elizabeth Donaldson, 21, was arrested in Dawson County on Wednesday, Sept. 25 — the day law Bender’s body was discovered — and has been charged with tampering with evidence. Donaldson is reportedly Stryker’s wife.

Jerry Harper, 78, was arrested Sept. 27 in Dawson County and charged with theft by receiving stolen property and driving while license suspended or revoked, but the GBI previously stated it had taken warrants out for Harper for “concealment of dead body” and “tampering with evidence” in Forsyth County. Harper is being held in custody under no bond.

On Monday, Sept. 30, Dawson County residents Isaac Huff, 18, and Dylan Reid, 19, were arrested in Dawson by the GBI.

Huff has been charged with one felony count for concealing death and is accused of allowing another to keep Bender’s body on his property. Huff is being held in custody under no bond.

Reid has been charged with felony counts of tampering with evidence and concealing death. He is accused of knowingly concealing evidence connected to Bender’s murder, concealing Bender’s death and hindering the discovery of her body. Reid is being held in custody under no bond.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Bailey Diane Williams, 21, of Lumpkin County was arrested in Lumpkin County in connection with the case. Williams has been charged with tampering with evidence. Williams was later released from custody on a bond of $10,200.

Authorities would not comment on any of the suspects’ relationships to Bender or each other. Authorities previously stated that more arrests are possible as the investigation continues.