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Justo Smoker now charged with Linda Stoltzfoos murder

Justo Smoker, who was previously charged with kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos, has been charged with criminal homicide in connection to her death.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Six months to the day after Amish teenager Linda Stoltzfoos was last seen in Lancaster County, the man accused of kidnapping her is now charged with her homicide as well.

Justo Smoker, who was previously charged with kidnapping Stoltzfoos, has been charged with criminal homicide in connection to her death, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney. 

Smoker has been in Lancaster County Prison since July on kidnapping and false imprisonment charges in connection with Stoltzfoos' disappearance on June 21. 

The District Attorneys' office said "Smoker’s conduct on and around the time of Linda’s kidnapping, along with physical evidence, supports the allegations that he kidnapped and murdered her." 

Court documents show Stoltzfoos left a church event on June 21 and never returned home. No one has heard from the young Amish woman or seen her since.

Monday, the Lancaster County District Attorney's office released court documents on the new charge. They reveal new details on the day before and up to when Stoltzfoos went missing. Authorities believe the evidence listed supports the homicide charge: 

  • They state the Pennsylvania State Police crime lab pinpointed Smoker's DNA on Linda Stoltzfoos' stockings which were found buried in the ground. 
  • During the investigation, authorities also found an opened bottle of bleach in Smoker's car
  • A witness and Smoker confirmed online he cleaned his car the day Linda was last seen.
  • The documents go on to state Smoker purchased gloves and black shoe laces -- neither of which were found in his apartment, car, storage unit, and work locker.
  • The documents state evidence suggests Smoker threw away his shoes and car mats which authorities say are commonly known to contain trace evidence.
  • Finally, authorities believe Smoker stalked other women in his red Kia Rio in the area the day prior.

"We always feared the worst, but prosecutors must follow the facts, the evidence, and the law to reach conclusions. Given the evidence outlined above, we are now in a position, legally, to charge Smoker with murder," added Adams.

Documents state authorities believe Smoker took Linda Stoltzfoos to the eastern side of Lancaster County and into the Welsh Mountains, which is an area which spans in excess of 1000 acres. 

While Stoltzfoos has not yet been found, Adams says the efforts to locate her will continue in order to try and provide some closure to her family who love and miss her dearly. 

The next step in the case will be a preliminary hearing on the new charge which will occur after formal arraignment.

A Brief Timeline of Events in the Disappearance of Linda Stoltzfoos:

  • June 21 (Father’s Day): Stoltzfoos, 18, never returned home from church.
  • June 22: Stoltzfoos is reported missing. Volunteers search for her.
  • June 23: Search continues near Enterprise Drive and Old Philadelphia Pike.
  • June 24: FBI joins East Lampeter Twp police in search efforts for Stoltzfoos.
  • June 29: Investigators say they want to talk to anyone who was on Mill Creek School, Stumptown, Gibbons, Beechdale or Millcreek Roads between 8am and 4pm on Sunday, June, 21 when Stoltzfoos disappeared.
  • July 10: FBI offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information about Stoltzfoos’ disappearance.
  • July 11: Lancaster County District Attorney’s office announces arrest has been made in the disappearance of Stoltzfoos. Justo Smoker, 34, of Paradise Township, is charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment.
  • December 21- Lancaster County District Attorney's office announces homicide charges against Justo Smoker, 34.