Reader “The other Erik” recently asked concerning the Linda Stoltzfoos case:

How focused on this are Amish people?

I’ve noticed a lot of recent articles on this website about this topic. That made me wonder: Are the local Amish, and those in more distant settlements, paying a lot of attention to this crime? What are their thoughts?

As it happens, Lancaster Online has just published a selection of comments from correspondence sent in to The Diary, a widely-read Amish monthly published out of Lancaster County:

Amish from communities as far away as Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio are paying close attention to the case of missing Lancaster County teen Linda Stoltzfoos and offering prayers to her family through a monthly newspaper published here called The Diary.

The Diary, which is published in Kirkwood, routinely carries dispatches from Amish across the United States about the weather, crop season, births, deaths, weddings, migrations and ordinations.

The Diary for sale at an Amish bookstore

As you’d expect, Amish people in different places are following the story with concern. Here’s a sample of some comments:

“I keep thinking of the parents in PA who are waiting on news of their missing daughter. Can we imagine the stress, the grief, the suspense? May God carry them through,” wrote a Mrs. Daniel Raber from Harmony/Granger, Minnesota, in the August issue of the newspaper.

Amanda H. Otto, writing to The Diary from Curtis, Wisconsin, stated: “My thoughts go daily to the family of Linda Stoltzfoos in PA. I am sure those who have had no such experience cannot imagine what they are going through. May you feel God’s presence during this difficult time.”

Henry K. Fisher, of Bird-In-Hand, wrote: “Hopes to find her alive anywhere are very dim by now but the vigilant watch by the telephone at Lloyd is still maintained at all time by volunteers three hours at a time just in case. Yes, in case she might be somewhere where she could call home,” wrote Henry K. Fisher of Bird-In-Hand.

“So, let us all keep praying. We realize that God could have prevented this but chose to let it happen. We question why! We need to seek for answers in order to get his message and let our voice of conscience tell us something. I didn’t see much of Linda since she turned 15 but have nothing bad at all in mind of her as a vocational pupil here.”

Another commenter writes that “God has a purpose in the things he does and allows to be done. ”

The article also notes that many Amish have drawn a connection to the case of Evelyn Fisher, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared in 1980 in the New Holland area. Evelyn was later found to have been abducted and killed. Evelyn’s mother visited last month with the Stoltzfoos family.

No doubt the sample of comments excerpted in the article reflects just a small portion of the concern among Amish around the country, given how the Amish grapevine works and the unusual and troubling nature of this case.

Anyone with information on the case should call the PA State Police, Lancaster Barracks at 717-299-7650, or the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI.

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