Body found in river ID’d as man who ran from traffic stop

Body found in river ID’d as man who ran from traffic stop

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Channel 2 Action News
Ryan Hacker, whose body was found in a river in Newton County, ran from a traffic stop earlier in November, authorities said.
  • Story Highlights
  • Police used a Taser on Ryan Hacker during a traffic stop in Porterdale on Nov. 3.
  • His body was found Sunday in the Yellow River.

The body found in a river in Newton County this week was a man who ran from a traffic stop nine days earlier, authorities said Friday.

Autopsy results confirmed the body found Sunday in the Yellow River in Porterdale was Ryan Hacker, 40, Porterdale police Chief Jason Cripps told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.

Officials with the Newton County Fire Department and the state Department of Natural Resources were called in, and the body was turned over to the Newton County coroner, Cripps said.

Officers stopped Hacker, a Porterdale resident, about 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 on suspicion of driving without a valid license, Cripps said.

The officer deployed his Taser during a scuffle, but Hacker ran in the direction of the Yellow River and was not captured, the GBI said in a statement. The GBI is investigating since it is considered a police use-of-force case.

An autopsy found no injuries to Hacker, the GBI said. Cause of death is pending further examination.

Cripps said he “can’t confirm or deny” whether he thought it was Hacker’s body when it was found. He told Channel 2 Action News that police dogs searched the area.

Hacker, a father of two, worked as a manager at Food Depot in Covington, Channel 2 confirmed. His mother, Tamara Harper, flew in from Illinois after his death.

“I don’t understand,” an emotional Harper told the news station Friday. “He took off running into the woods ... never heard from him again.”

Harper just wants answers from police about what happened.

“Don’t make him sound like a bad guy,” she said. “Just tell me what happened.”

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