Man Charged With Kidnapping of Woman Believed to Be Missing for Nearly a Month

Paula Liu
By Paula Liu
July 13, 2020US News
Man Charged With Kidnapping of Woman Believed to Be Missing for Nearly a Month
Police crime tape in a file photo. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A man has been charged for allegedly kidnapping a woman who has been missing for more than a month, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Justo Smoker, a 34-year-old from Paradise, Pennsylvania, was arrested by the authorities on Friday at his workplace, charged with one count of felonious kidnapping and one count of false imprisonment in relation to missing 18-year-old Amish woman Linda Stolztfoos.

Smoker was arraigned on Saturday and is currently not eligible for bail.

The whereabouts of Stolztfoos is still unknown, and authorities are trying to investigate what happened after she went missing. Authorities believe that Stolztfoos could have been harmed.

Her father had reported her missing when she didn’t return from a gathering at a youth club on the night of June 21. Investigators discovered that Stolztfoos did not make it to the gathering that day.

There were no indications that Stolztfoos was unhappy with her community or that she had a reason to leave home.

Initially, Smoker became a person of interest in the case “after police received information about a red/orange vehicle seen in the Gap area on the afternoon of the abduction,” according to the district attorney’s office. Around the time of the kidnapping, Smoker was driving a red Kia Rio sedan.

“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,” the district attorney’s office said.

Authorities obtained a surveillance video that depicted the moment of the alleged kidnapping, and after being enhanced by FBI forensic technicians, the video revealed that Stolztfoos was seemingly abducted on Beechdale Road, and that a red Kia Rio sedan was also present.

The road Stolztfoos was apparently kidnapped on was a part of the walking route she took on her way home from church.

Investigators also searched the area in Ronks, Pennsylvania, where they believe she was taken, and found Stolztfoos’s clothes buried in a wooded area, according to the news release.

The search for Stolztfoos is still ongoing, and authorities said they would provide more information once it is available.

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