Four men arrested following the death of Lumpkin County woman Hannah Bender, have now been formally charged by the Dawson County Superior Court.
On Wednesday, Austin Stryker, 24, Isaac Huff, 18, Dylan Reid, 19, were indicted on a host of charges related to Bender’s death, including murder, aggravated assault and battery, concealing the death of another and violation of the state’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Jerry Harper, 78, was also indicted, although his indictment does not include a murder or aggravated assault charge.
Shortly after Bender was reported missing on Sept. 19, bloody clothing was found in nearby Dawson County and her body was discovered buried in a shallow grave in north Forsyth County.
The discovery of Bender’s body sparked a statewide manhunt for Stryker, who after several weeks on the run surrendered to authorities in Pittsburgh on Oct. 1.
Six others, including Huff, Reid and Harper were arrested by authorities in Lumpkin and Dawson County during the investigation.
According to the indictment, Stryker, Huff and Reid are accused of shooting and stabbing the 21-year-old woman and concealing her body on Sept. 15, 2019. Harper has been accused of harboring Stryker following the murder.
Sources close to the investigation claim that they now believe the murder may have happened in Dawson County, before the suspects disposed of the body in Forsyth County and planted evidence at a campsite in Lumpkin County in an attempt to throw off investigators.
All four men have also been charged for allegedly participating in “criminal gang activity” and violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Huff, Harper and Reid are being held in the Dawson County Detention Center under no bond. Stryker is being held in custody by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Two other individuals, Elizabeth Donaldson, 21 and Bailey Diane Williams, 21, were arrested and charged with tampering with evidence following the discovery of Bender’s body. They were not included in the indictment.
This case will be presided over by Judge Kathlene F. Gosselin of the Northeastern Judicial Circuit and will be prosecuted by Conley Greer, senior assistant district attorney for Dawson County.