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The original item was published from 7/17/2020 10:22:38 AM to 7/17/2020 10:25:06 AM.

News Flash

District Attorney

Posted on: July 17, 2020

[ARCHIVED] The Latest in 'Constant, Ongoing, Collaborative Effort' to Find Linda Stoltzfoos


The investigation into Linda Stoltzfoos’ whereabouts is a "constant, ongoing, collaborative effort," the investigative agencies said Thursday at a press briefing in Lancaster County.

Stoltzfoos, an 18-year-old Amish woman, has been missing since June 21 when she was kidnapped on Beechdale Road in Bird-in-Hand while walking home from church.

Justo Smoker, 34, is charged with her kidnapping. He is presumed innocent.

There has been nothing found in the investigation thus far to indicate Stoltzfoos knew Smoker prior to the crime.

The search for Linda continues.

Investigators said they are building a timeline of events before, on, and after June 21. They are asking for assistance from the community - specifically, if anyone saw Smoker’s red Kia Rio sedan in that timeframe.

"This case is a priority and we are doing everything we can to find Linda and bring her home to secure justice for her family and the community," District Attorney Heather Adams said at the briefing.

East Lampeter Township police Chief Stephen Zerbe called the investigation a "constant, ongoing, collaborative effort."

"I would also like to extend our thanks to the Amish community as a whole, who have given unselfishly to help the Stoltzfoos family during this time," Chief Zerbe said.

The Kia Rio has distinct features:

- a missing, front passenger-side hubcap

- black trim

- a rear spoiler

- an ‘LCM’ sticker on the trunk.

The vehicle is in police custody. PHOTOS ARE ATTACHED TO THIS PAGE.

Pennsylvania State Police asked anyone with information about the Kia’s movements on and around June 21 to call 717-299-7650 and provide that information.

"No piece of information or evidence in this case is insignificant," Trooper Kevin Kochka said.

Frank Apicella, Supervisory Special Agent with FBI in Harrisburg, said a $10,000 reward is still being offered by the bureau.


A Paradise man is charged with kidnapping an 18-year-old Amish woman who has been missing since June 21, when she was last seen walking home from church in the Bird-in-Hand area.

East Lampeter Township police charged 34-year-old Justo Smoker on Friday with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment.

The whereabouts of Linda Stoltzfoos remain unknown. Investigators are actively searching and working to determine what happened to Stoltzfoos after she was taken.

Investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction.

Smoker was arrested Friday night at his place of employment.

Smoker, of 3200 block of Lincoln Highway East, was arraigned Saturday morning on the two charges. He is presumed innocent.

District Judge Joshua Keller, at arraignment, made Smoker ineligible for bail, citing the nature of the charges and the ongoing investigation.

East Lampeter Township police Detective Christopher Jones filed charges.

East Lampeter Township police is being assisted by multiple agencies, to include the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police and Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators are asking anyone who might have seen Smoker - or his red Kia Rio sedan - around the time Stoltzfoos was abducted, and in the days after, to contact police at 717-291-4676.

Photos of Smoker and the vehicle - with a distinct spoiler and “LCM” sticker on the trunk - are included in this post. The Kia’s Pennsylvania registration is KYB-9713.

On Friday evening, investigators searched a rural location in Ronks, where they believed Stoltzfoos might have been taken after being kidnapped. Smoker’s vehicle was seen parked at that location on June 23.

Investigators found buried in a wooded area articles of clothing believed to belong to Stoltzfoos.

Smoker became a person of interest in the kidnapping after police received information about a red/orange vehicle seen in the Gap area on the afternoon of the abduction.

Multiple witnesses in that area reported seeing an Amish female in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by a male. Witness descriptions of the driver and vehicle are consistent with Smoker and his vehicle.

Police also obtained and viewed surveillance video - enhanced by FBI forensic technicians - that depicts the abduction of Linda Stoltzfoos on Beechdale Road. That video shows a red Kia Rio involved in the abduction.

Beechdale Road would have been part of Stoltzfoos’ walking route back home after church.

Her father reported her missing when she did not return from a youth group (she was to attend) late into the night of June 21.

Investigators confirmed she did not make it to that social gathering.

Police found nothing indicating Stoltzfoos was unhappy and wanted to leave her community.

We understand this investigation is of high interest to the public and members of the media. We will be providing updates, as deemed appropriate.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041;; Twitter: @BrettHambright

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