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Person of interest arrested in connection with murder of Lumpkin County woman
Jerry Harper
Jerry Harper

A 78-year-old man considered a person of interest in the death of a Lumpkin County woman has been taken into custody in north Georgia.

Authorities say that Jerry Harper, a person of interest in the death of 21-year-old Hannah Bender, was taken into custody on Friday afternoon after a motorist in Dawson County spotted a white Ford Explorer matching the description of a BOLO issued the previous evening and called 911. 

Bender's body was discovered buried in Forsyth County earlier this week and on Thursday night, authorities announced that warrants for Harper had been issued by the GBI for concealment of a dead body and tampering with evidence.

Harper is being held at the Dawson County Detention Center and will be interviewed by Dawson and Lumpkin County sheriff’s office and the GBI investigators as a person of interest in the murder.  

The case’s main suspect, Austin Todd 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.

Authorities say Stryker and Harper were last seen in Clay County, West Virginia and that Stryker may have altered his appearance to avoid detection.

Stryker is considered armed and dangerous, according to authorities.

Anyone with information in this case has been asked to contact the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office by calling 706-974-6824.