By Associated Press

Human remains found during a search Wednesday are that of the missing Amish teenager who disappeared in Pennsylvania last summer, officials believe.  

Lancaster County DA Heather Adams said Thursday they now believe the remains of missing Stoltzfoos have been found after a body was discovered Wednesday

Linda Stoltzfoos, 18, was last seen walking home from a church service in the Bird-in-Hand area of Lancaster on on June 21 last year. She never returned home. 

In December last year Justo Smoker, 35, was charged with criminal homicide. Officials said then that the suspect’s DNA was discovered on the victim’s stocking, which had been found buried in the woods alongside her bra. 

Justo Smoker, of Paradise was initially charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment.

Linda Stoltzfoos, 18, was last walking home from church in the Bird-in-Hand area of Lancasteron June 21 last year

In December, he was charged with homicide, with prosecutors alleging that the passing of time, along with the complete cessation of all routine activities led to the inevitable conclusion that Linda was deceased and that Smoker caused her death.” In March, a county judge ruled that there was enough evidence for a homicide trial.

Smoker has an extensive criminal history stretching back to 2005 and has spent the majority of his adult life behind bars

Authorities said surveillance video enhanced by FBI forensic technicians showed a red sedan, the same kind of car owned by the defendant, involved in the abduction.

Lancaster County DA Heather Adams said Thursday they now believe Stoltzfoos was killed within hours of her kidnap and initially buried at that location before her body was moved to where it was found Wednesday. 

Surveillance footage observed by authorities captured Stoltzfoos walking alone on Beechdale Road, a route she typically took home after church. A red Kia Rio that matched Smoker’s vehicle registration number was also seen in the footage

The remains were found buried more than three feet down and wrapped in a tarp behind Dutchland Incorporated, the former workplace of Smoker in a rural area in the eastern part of Lancaster County, she said. 

A a dress, bonnet and shoes matching what Linda was last seen in were also found. Prosecutors noted that Wednesday marked exactly 10 months since Stoltzfoos disappeared. 

Speaking about the find, Stoltzfoos’s uncle told CBS 21 Wednesday: ‘I’m still in shock and never ready for news like this.’

The county coroner’s office will now make a formal identification and determine the cause and manner of death, prosecutors said.  

An autopsy is planned for Friday.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here