Lancaster Online marks four months since Linda Stoltzfoos’ June 21 disappearance with an article today: “Amish teen Linda Stoltzfoos still missing, 4 months since police say she was abducted.”
While Linda remains missing, Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams called the case “a top priority.” The story quotes her: “Our office and the investigators remain committed to bringing Linda home and securing justice for her and her family.” Multiple agencies continue to work on Linda’s case.
There have been no great news revelations in the past month-plus. But this article does provide two pieces of information relevant to what happens next:
- Justo Smoker, charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment, remains in custody at Lancaster County Prison, behind held without bail. That will be a status conference to be held November 5. This is described as “an opportunity for the defense and prosecution to update a judge on where the case stands and get an outline of the schedule going forward.” Perhaps additional information of substance will be revealed at that date. Smoker has never publicly commented on this case.
- As to a trial, there is this wrinkle due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Normally Pennsylvania state law requires an incarcerated defendant be brought to trial within 180 days of the date of arrest. Justo Smoker was arrested July 10th, so unless there is an additional wrinkle I am not aware of, that would have meant a trial by early/mid-January at the latest. However, this rule “has been suspended because of the pandemic”. That leaves a question mark as to how things might next proceed.
I hope this is useful as I frequently get requests for updates on Linda’s case.
These two points relate to legal issues surrounding the suspect in Linda’s disappearance. But of greatest concern to her family and community are Linda’s whereabouts. Whether she is alive or dead, they want to know where she is.
Update: It’s been reported that police conducted another search for Linda yesterday (Wednesday). No further details have been provided as far as search location.
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I am still so very sad about Linda.I am Always looking for updates on here hoping she turns up.God Bless You,Linda.And her family as well.
Honestly one of the more troubling cases of my experience. Overwhelming evidence of guilt, though circumstantial, justifies denying bail to Smoker, yet he is entitled to due process on a timely basis. Potential jurors everywhere are simply refusing to show up due to the Corona pandemic making it impossibly difficult to proceed. It’s like a train wreck you can’t look away from.
I didn’t realize this was the case that it had so disrupted the proceedings of justice, but if so then add this to the long list of disruptions this bug has so far piled up. Is Covid the ultimate excuse to get out of jury duty?
Proceedings requiring jury are suspended here in San Diego County for lack of jurors. Jurors are not being arrested for ignoring their summons for now. Health is in fact valid grounds for excuse from jury duty, for obvious reasons. I’m glad not to be Smoker’s lawyer. It would be my duty to seek his release based of failure of timely trial. There’s a powerful argument against releasing him but I wouldn’t predict the result.
Were I the Sheriff holding Smoker in custody, I dare say I would risk contempt of court rather than release him.
I was thinking of poor Linda when I read the article this morning about the two children who were almost kidnapped.
Me too. I wonder if these folks are seen as easy targets by demented people.
Where is Linda
Young kids and especially young single females should not be traveling by themselves. With this day in age as it is…the chances of being kidnapped has increased. Even though these kidnappings/child snatches take place more so in the English world…the Amish should not take their childrens safety for granted. And…its not God’s will..its the sick,evil,demented human garbage that live among us! Miss Linda is not the first young Amish girl to go missing. 14 yr old Evelyn Fisher went missing in July of 1980; only to be discovered 2 months later. I pray they find Linda either way! We live in scary times!!