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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