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Prosecutors release new details of Linda Stoltzfoos' abduction; investigators still looking for tips

New details from the preliminary hearing for Justo Smoker, who is accused of abducting her, were released Friday

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from August 5.

The Lancaster County District Attorney's Office on Friday shared new details from the preliminary hearing for Justo Smoker, the suspect accused of kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos.

The 18-year-old member of the Amish community disappeared on June 21. Her whereabouts are still unknown. 

Smoker, 34, is charged with kidnapping in the case. 

Investigators are still seeking tips from the public, which can be provided by calling (717) 291-4676 or (717) 299-7650 or by submitting a tip online.

During the 2½-hour preliminary hearing on Wednesday, the charges against Smoker were held for disposition in Lancaster County Court.

Credit: Lancaster PD
Justo Smoker

According to preliminary hearing testimony from East Lampeter Township police and Pennsylvania State Police:

  • Linda “was content with her Amish lifestyle. Nobody we spoke with reported she was unhappy in any capacity.”
  • She was “timid in groups” and in public. She never had any boyfriends or non-Amish friends.
  • Police searched Linda’s bedroom and found: her money was still there, along with her travel bag and all other belongings. The only things missing were her church clothes.
  • Police checked for activity on Linda’ bank accounts as recently as Aug. 5 – there has been none.
  • Witnesses saw an Amish female in a red car on the afternoon Linda disappeared. That was ‘extremely noteworthy’ because Amish females typically would not be alone in a vehicle wearing a head covering.
  • One witness said, “she looked at me with pleading eyes.”
  • As for the red car, Smoker was seen cleaning it a few hours after Linda was abducted. He also sent a Facebook message stating he was cleaning his car.
  • Smoker told police no one else drove his car around the time of the abduction, and that he was not in that area on June 21 – but when police showed him surveillance images, he said the car appeared to be his.
  • On June 23, a witness saw Smoker’s car parked near a wooded area where police later found Linda’s stockings and bra buried. A plastic zip tie also was found in that area.
  • The witness photographed the car - it matched Smoker's registration.

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.

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