Man accused of kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos in police custody; Stoltzfoos still missing

Linda's whereabouts remain unknown but police say they have reason to believe she was harmed after her abduction.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Police say a Paradise man has been taken into custody regarding the disappearance of an 18-year-old Amish woman in Lancaster County.

Justo Smoker, 34, was taken into custody on Friday night at his place of employment, police say. He has been charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment.

Loading ...

According to officials, Linda Stoltzfoos' whereabouts remain unknown and investigators are actively working to determine what happened to her after she was taken. Police say they have reason to believe she was harmed following her abduction.

On Friday evening, investigators searched a rural area in Ronks, where they thought Stoltzfoos might have been kidnapped. They found articles of clothing believed to be hers buried in a wooded area.

Smoker's vehicle, a red Kia Rio sedan with a distinct "LCM" sticker on the trunk, was seen parked in the rural area on June 23, according to the police release.

Police say Smoker became a person of interest in the kidnapping after they received tips about a red/orange vehicle seen in the Gap area on the afternoon of Stoltzfoos' abduction.

Multiple witnesses in the area also told police they had seen an Amish woman in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by a man, with the vehicle and driver's description matching Smoker.

Investigators reveal they obtained surveillance footage that showed Stoltzfoos' abduction on Beechdale Road, which she would have taken on her walk back home from church, involving a red Kia Rio.

Suspect's vehicle
Lancaster County DA's Office

Stoltzfoos' father reported her missing on June 21 after she didn't return home after a youth group meeting she was supposed to have attended, according to police. Investigators confirmed that she never made it to the meeting.

Police also said during their investigation they found nothing that indicated that Stoltzfoos was unhappy or wanted to leave her community.

Investigators say they currently do not plan on answering questions but will be providing updates during the continued search for Stoltzfoos. 

Smoker is currently in Lancaster County Prison and has been denied bail by the district judge based on the nature of his charges.

Loading ...

Detectives 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.

RELATED: FBI offering reward up to $10,000 for information leading to recovery of missing Amish teen

RELATED: Police: Lack of evidence, two weeks into investigation of missing Linda Stoltzfoos

RELATED: FBI releases composite image of missing Amish woman in street clothes

RELATED: East Lampeter Township Police address rumors circulating online about Linda Stoltzfoos whereabouts

RELATED: Police are asking travelers in area where Amish woman disappeared in Lancaster County for help in their search