LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — It has been 3 months since anyone has seen Linda Stoltzfoos. Pictures of the 18-year-old are posted all over Lancaster County and dozens of community members have joined search efforts to find the missing Amish teenager. Here’s what we know so far regarding the investigation into her disappearance.
Stoltzfoos went missing on June 21 after leaving a church service just before 1:00 p.m. along Stumptown Road in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. She never returned home.
Search efforts began the next day and the FBI later released a composite of what Stoltzfoos might look like in street clothes. After three weeks of canvassing the area where she disappeared, there was a break in the case.
On July 10, East Lampeter Township Police arrested 34-year-old Justo Smoker, of Paradise Township, on kidnapping and false imprisonment charges. Investigators said surveillance video from a homeowner's security system shows Smoker getting out of his car on Beechdale Road and abducting Stoltzfoos in broad daylight.
The most recent update in the case came on September 17. Unsealed court documents show Smoker texted his brother 15 times over a two-hour period around the time Stoltzfoos disappeared. They exchanged messages from 1:05 p.m.—just 20 minutes after Stoltzfoos was last seen—to 3 p.m. on June 21.
Witness photos reportedly show Smoker’s red Kia Rio parked off Harvest Drive in Ronks. It’s here that police said they found clothing that belonged to Stoltzfoos buried behind a local business.
Cell phone records place Smoker in the general area of 3104 Harvest Drive in Ronks between 2:32 p.m. and 3:35 p.m. on June 21, according to police.
Investigators executed a search warrant to access cell phone records in the hopes that they will help piece together a clear picture of the moments leading up to and after Stoltzfoos’ disappearance. Police also searched for evidence in Smoker’s car, home, and a storage unit he rented in Paradise Township.
In the application for a warrant to search Smoker's home on the 3200 block of Lincoln Highway, East Lampeter Township Police Detective Chris Jones said police were hoping to locate trace evidence "including but not limited to hair, fibers, blood, DNA, bodily fluids, latent fingerprints, (or) other debris."
Investigators were also looking for Stoltzfoos' clothing, including a tan dress, white apron, and bonnet, along with "any weapons or instruments of crime that could be used to further facilitate the furtherance of the crime of false imprisonment."
The application to search Smoker's car was also looking for trace evidence and any clothing belonging to Stoltzfoos, as well as "any documentation that shows the location of the vehicle from June 21 until present."
In the application for a warrant to search the storage unit, Jones said he was looking for evidence "linking Stoltzfoos to that location and to Justo Smoker."
Linda still hasn’t been found.
The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office could not provide any new updates on the case other than the investigation remains active and ongoing.
Smoker has been denied bail. He has a status conference scheduled for Thursday, September 24.