Relief, albeit bittersweet and mixed with disappointment.
These are the feelings of two women — and no doubt countless others — who live hundreds of miles from Lancaster County, upon learning Linda Stoltzfoos’ body was found.
Lori Ann Gosha and Vickie Rowe Grimes are involved in Facebook groups that quickly formed after Stoltzfoos’ disappearance last June that have offered support, prayer and updates on the case.
“We worked tirelessly, not just through prayer, but trying to search for answers in every direction and really, to intently pray, for Linda to be brought home,” Grimes, 57, of Williamsburg, Virginia, said Thursday.
Eventually, reality set in.
“You try to hang on to that shred of hope, but you know the probable outcome,” she said.
Then it became praying for the Stoltzfoos family.
“It became a point for the family after suffering the loss of a child in such a horrifying way, the family deserved … I hate the word, closure. There is no closure to the loss of a child,” she said. “In my opinion the family deserves to bury her remains in a respectful, dignified way to honor her life, such a beautiful life.
“As hard as we worked to bring her home, it was almost disappointing: You fought so hard for this moment, but then when it happens, you realize there is no such thing as closure,” she said.
Gosha, 55, who lives about 10 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, said the news was bittersweet, though she had been preparing herself for such an outcome.
“My heart broke for her family,” she said.
She intends to keep her Facebook page going as the criminal case progresses — and as a memorial.
Gosha said she feels she knows Stoltzfoos’ spirit.
“She was pure. She was God’s child. It’s such a horrific crime. That’s what gets you.”