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Missing 18-year-old Amish girl Linda Stoltzfoos — Source: CBS 21 News

I’m sad and angry to have to write this update.

In late June, I told you about an 18-year-old Amish girl named Linda Stoltzfoos who had gone missing from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Many assumed that she ran away to start a new life, but that seemed unlikely, as she showed no signs of wanting to leave the church, nor did she reach out to anyone to let them know she was OK.

It just broke less than an hour ago that a man has been arrested for abducting Linda. The name of this piece of garbage is Justo Smoker, 34. He hails from Paradise Township, not far from where Linda was taken. [1]

However, Linda is still missing. Investigators found clothing buried in the woods that they believe may belong to her, but apparently Justo Smoker isn’t talking.

There is still hope that she is alive, but if we’re being honest… She was probably murdered. I think it’s also safe to assume she was sexually assaulted.

The district attorney’s office is quoted as saying:

“Investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction.” [2]

Justo Smoker has been charged with felony kidnapping and a misdemeanor of false imprisonment.

One article explains:

“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.” [1]

Every case like this is heartbreaking, but this one is especially painful for a couple of reasons. First, because Linda was a young woman — still a child, really — who was very insulated from and naive about the world outside of her Amish upbringing. Second, she went missing from a beautiful, peaceful rural area where just about anyone would feel safe.

Here’s the thing: Justo Smoker should have been in prison when Linda was abducted. [3] In 2007, a judge sentenced Smoker to 12.5 to 30 years in prison armed robbery. It’s unclear if he was released after the minimum sentence or if there was another reason for his early release. Either way, if the full sentence had been carried out, this never would have occurred.

I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.

Sources:

  1. CBS 21 News
  2. Lancaster Online
  3. Lancaster Online

My name is Julie Fidler. I’m a writer, author, wife, and animal lover. I shed light on unsolved mysteries and shocking crimes.

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