Following Linda Stoltzfoos

An Amish woman is seen walking down North Hollander Road in Upper Leacock Township on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Police are still searching for Linda Stoltzfoos, an 18-year-old Amish woman who was abducted by 34-year-old Justo Smoker, of Paradise, on June 21, according to police.

It's been 92 days since 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos was last seen.

The Amish teen's disappearance has made national news and has drawn a community in the eastern part of Lancaster County even tighter, as they continue to pray for the woman who was last seen on June 21, walking back from a church service on Beechdale Road in Upper Leacock Township.

In the three months since, investigators have brought kidnapping charges against a Paradise Township man, have found articles of her clothing buried behind a local business and have conducted searches for the 18-year-old in multiple areas around Bird-in-Hand.

The most recent update to the case came last week, when documents showed that Justo Smoker, the 34-year-old accused of kidnapping Stoltzfoos, texted his brother 15 times in a two-hour period around the time of the alleged kidnapping. The documents were unsealed after a 60-day hold, according to LNP | LancasterOnline's early reporting. But no new charges against Smoker or his brother have been filed, court dockets show.

East Lampeter Police are leading the investigation, with the help of the FBI and state police. As of Thursday, Sept. 18, East Lampeter public information officer Matthew Hess said there were no new updates to publicly report. The FBI deferred any questions to East Lampeter.

Smoker is being held in Lancaster County Prison without bail after a judge ruled after an Aug. 5 preliminary hearing that his charges — felony count of kidnapping and a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment — would proceed to court.

Smoker pleaded not guilty to the charges on Aug. 25. 

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said during a news conference shortly after Smoker’s arrest that the evidence leads her to believe Stoltzfoos may have been harmed.

During the hearing, little new evidence was given; however, the district attorney's office and investigators who testified did give more specific details on the case.

While rehashing the findings that were laid out in the affidavit of probable cause, one new detail that emerged was the finding of a zip tie near the area where officers found Stoltzfoos' bra and stockings buried in a "disturbed" area of dirt and mud, Pennsylvania State Trooper Kory Wardrop testified.

Along with homeowners' surveillance video, which the district attorney's office says shows Smoker's abduction of Stoltzfoos, police also testified that a man and woman told investigators that they saw a red Kia  driving down Amish Road with an Amish woman in the passenger seat on June 21. The woman told police that the passenger was wearing "church clothes" and it struck the witness as different because she was wearing a black head covering, which she told police wasn't customary in that district.

The passenger looked at the woman while the car drove past "with pleading eyes," East Lampeter police detective Christopher Jones testified.

Multiple searches for Stoltzfoos have been conducted by law enforcement, Amish communities and local put-together groups.

The most recent search, which involved police departments, rescue teams and hundreds of searchers, was on Aug. 22 in the Welsh Mountain area, near the county's eastern border.

The area is approximately 940 acres and is located about 13 miles east of where police said Stoltzfoos was last seen.

The search came up empty.

Stoltzfoos' uncle Mervin Fisher, who runs a Facebook page sharing prayer gatherings for her, told LNP | LancasterOnline after the search that it's been encouraging that so many people care. He said prayers have come from as far away as London and Holland.

A new court date hasn't been set for Smoker, but he does have a status conference with his attorney, the county's chief public defender, Christopher Tallarico, and Lancaster County President Judge David Ashworth scheduled for Thursday.


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