Body found as hunt for murder suspect continues

  • UPDATE- Body found as hunt for murder suspect continues
    UPDATE- Body found as hunt for murder suspect continues

The five-day search for Hannah Bender appears to have come to a tragic end as investigators believe they’ve located the body of the 21-year-old Dahlonega resident in Forsyth County on Wednesday.
“The body has not been confirmed yet but due to some markings it appears to be the person we’re looking for,” said Sheriff Stacy Jarrard of the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.
The main suspect in the murder is Austin Todd Stryker, 22, of Dawsonville who has evaded authorities since a warrant was issued for his arrest on Saturday afternoon.
An LCSO investigation began last week when Bender’s mother told deputies that she hadn’t heard from her daughter for a few days.
This soon led to the discovery of bloody clothing at an undisclosed camp site near the Lumpkin and Dawson County line.
On Tuesday Bender’s Ford Ranger was recovered in Forsyth County and appeared to have had much of the interior removed in what officers believe was an apparent attempt to dispose of evidence, said Jarrard.
Bender’s body was then found buried on the same Forsyth County property, according to authorities.
An arrest is pending for an additional suspect who apparently helped hide the body, said Jarrard.
On Monday, a lookout was issued for 78-year-old Jerry Harper, who has been deemed “a person of interest” by investigators.
“He’s a friend of Austin and was last seen leaving with him,” said Jarrard.
Authorities are also searching for a white 2000 Ford Explorer that was driven by Stryker.
Officers asked anyone with information about this case to contact LCSO Lead Investigator Marcus Sewell at 706-974-6824.