Murder suspect linked to armed robbery

  • Murder suspect linked to armed robbery
    Murder suspect linked to armed robbery
Body

Murder suspect Austin Todd Stryker is now also the main suspect in last summer’s robbery of the Highway 60 Dollar General.
The manhunt for the 22-year-old Dawsonville resident came to an end just after 1 a.m. last Wednesday morning when he reportedly turned himself in to police in Pittsburgh, Pa.
A murder warrant was immediately issued and then, a few days later, an additional warrant for armed robbery was taken out in his name as well, said officials.
“We made the connection through the interview process that we’ve been having,” said Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard while talking to The Nugget on Monday.
A widespread search for Stryker had been underway for weeks as he was a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend and Dahlonega resident Hannah Bender.
The body of the 21-year-old was discovered buried in a shallow grave on pasture land in Forsyth County on September 25.
The concealment of her death appears to have been an effort involving multiple people as a total of five other suspects have been charged in connection with the case.
Last Tuesday, Dahlonega resident Bailey Williams, 21, was arrested and charged with tampering of evidence.
Stryker’s fiancee Elizabeth Donaldson was reportedly arrested on the same charge a week earlier.
Dawson residents Isaac Huff and Dylan Reid were arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and charged with concealment of a body.
Jerry Harper, 78, who was allegedly one of the last people seen with Stryker, was arrested and charged with concealment of death and tampering of evidence.
When Stryker arrives back in Georgia, he will face questions about the murder as well as the July 7 armed robbery of the Dollar General store.
It was then that a man pulled out a semi-automatic pistol at the counter and told the cashier to empty the register.
Eye witnesses to the crime were scarce because the suspect appeared to wait until all customers had left the store before approaching the counter.
“He sort of walked around the aisles waiting,”Jarrard said.
However surveillance camera captured a still of the suspect.
The image was widely circulated but, until recently, no main suspects were named.
“This should relieve some of the people that work at the Dollar General because we’ve been able to make an arrest in that,” said Jarrard.
As of press-time, Stryker remained in custody in Pittsburgh as officials reportedly awaited the result of an extradition hearing.
“He’s still there,” said Lt. Alan Roach of the LCSO. “When somebody’s arrested out of state it’s not as simple when it’s in-state.”
Since the murder of Bender occurred near the county line, officials are still trying to determine whether Stryker will be housed in Lumpkin or Dawson counties.
In Dahlonega the death of Bender has prompted an outpouring of grief from those who knew and loved her.
“She was one of the most beautiful souls I ever had the pleasure of knowing and being able to call my friend,” said Seth Chambers, a longtime friend of Bender.
Chambers has set up one of two GoFundMe pages to assist family members in the funeral costs and other expenses.
Those who would like to donate to the cause can visit gofundme.com and word search Hannah Bender.
“I’m thankful that we’re getting some closure on this,” said Jarrard. “We’ll keep remembering the family in our thoughts and prayers.”