It’s been nearly three weeks since Linda Stoltzfoos disappeared on June 21. The FBI is now offering a monetary reward for information. From crimewatchpa.com:
The East Lampeter Township Police Department and the FBI continue to ask for the public’s assistance in locating Linda Stoltzfoos. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to Linda’s recovery and the identification, arrest, and conviction of the subject(s) responsible for her disappearance.
Linda has been missing since Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, 2020, when she didn’t return home after a church service. She was last observed at a farm on Stumptown Road, between the intersection of Beechdale Road and Gibbons Road in Bird-in-Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Linda is described as a white female, 18 years of age, approximately 5’10” tall and 125 pounds. She is a member of the Amish community and was last seen wearing a tan dress, white apron, and black head covering.
Anyone with information on Linda’s whereabouts or the circumstances of her disappearance is asked to contact us at 717-291-4676, click on the submit a tip button below, 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or online at tips.fbi.gov. (original article removed)
You could read the wording of that reward offer to suggest that the FBI is convinced that she was taken by someone or someones. But I haven’t seen where they’ve definitively stated that is the case. Statements from authorities have generally seemed to lean to the idea that Linda did not leave of her free will, but they have also left open the possibility with repeated statements that there have been no signs of foul play.
Obviously the “best case” scenario here is that those who know Linda best completely missed any signs, if there were any, of her wanting to leave the community. Linda re-appearing of her own free will does not seem likely, but it would be a lot better than the alternatives, and I have to think her loved ones must be hoping and praying for an outcome like that.
This news led me to wonder if monetary rewards actually help people or suspects involved in crimes to be found? This NPR article goes into some detail on the use of reward payments in such cases. An excerpt:
Law enforcement agencies have a long history of offering rewards in an effort to solve crimes. The FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list has been up and running since 1950, when the agency first teamed up with a news wire service to publicize the toughest criminals it was trying to capture. The FBI now offers a minimum — a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to a direct arrest of anyone on that list.
In the 1970s, Crime Stoppers, a new effort that used reward money, the media, and citizen help, got underway. It lets people call in anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers programs across the United States. Typical rewards, up to $1,000 funded by public, private and corporate donations, are offered if a tip leads to an arrest. Larger rewards are offered for more heinous crimes.
Barb Bergin, chairwoman of Crime Stoppers USA, says the prospect of higher rewards for cases that receive more publicity may increase the number of tips or calls. That doesn’t necessarily mean those tips help solve the case or lead to higher rewards being paid out.
“Nationally we are seeing programs who are paying out as little as 15 to 20% of their available rewards,” Bergin says. “I think the highest that you’ll see around the country is somewhere around 60 to 70% of their rewards get collected.”
Besides this, there hasn’t been a lot of news in the case since our last update on the FBI’s release of a composite photo of Linda in English clothing a week ago. Previous to that authorities asked those who’d been on any of five area roads the day of Linda’s disappearance to contact them.
The FBI missing person poster for Linda: