Linda Stoltzfoos

Linda Stoltzfoos

Linda Stoltzfoos was strangled and stabbed once in the neck, according to the Lancaster County coroner, whose office performed an autopsy Friday morning.

Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said the cause of death was asphyxia -- lack of oxygen to the brain -- as a result of strangulation and suffocation, with the stab wound a contributing factor. He also positively identified Stoltzfoos through dental records and ruled the manner of death a homicide.

When asked about the state of the body, which was recovered Wednesday from where a man charged with killing her had buried her, according to prosecutors, and for more details about the injuries, Diamantoni declined, citing the criminal investigation.

District Attorney Heather Adams said she was aware of the autopsy results, but also declined comment, citing the investigation.

Prosecutors believe Stoltzfoos, 18, was abducted from near her Upper Leacock Township home on June 21 and killed shortly afterward.

Diamantoni said a number of tests were ordered, including for signs of sexual assault, but he did not know how long it may take for them to be completed. Such tests are routine, he said, declining to say if there was any indication of sexual assault.

Justo Smoker, 35, of Paradise Township, is charged with homicide, kidnapping and false imprisonment in Stoltzfoos’ death. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held at Lancaster County Prison without bail.

According to prosecutors, Smoker had been driving around the area where Stoltzfoos lives, stalking Amish females on June 20 and 21. 

Stoltzfoos was walking home from church when prosecutors contend Smoker abducted her at a farm lane intersecting Beechdale Road, just four-tenths of a mile from her parents’ home.

Prosecutors said they zeroed in on Smoker after reviewing footage from a home surveillance camera that showed his car on Beechdale on the day Stoltzfoos disappeared. He was arrested on July 10 at his work, Dutchland Inc., located on Rte. 41 south of Gap. 

Stoltzfoos’ body was found buried up to 42 inches deep on Amtrak property behind the business. 

Investigators believe Smoker initially buried her near a business on Harvest Lane in Ronks, where police found her bra and stockings on July 10. They believe Smoker then moved the body within days of her abduction to where it was found.

Authorities have also matched DNA samples collected by swabbing Smoker’s cheeks to DNA samples found on Stoltzfoos' blue bra and white stockings.

Smoker was released from prison in February 2019 after serving the minimum of a 12-1/2- to 30-year sentence for a series of armed robberies he committed in 2006 with his brother.

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