The news is breaking that Justo Smoker, charged with kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos, has now been charged with killing her:
State police on Monday charged Justo Smoker — already facing a trial related to the kidnapping of Amish teen Linda Stoltzfoos — directly with the June death of the Lancaster woman, according to an arrest warrant.
Police cited numerous sources of evidence, including witness accounts, DNA testing, video surveillance and cellphone records, to reach the conclusion that Smoker, 34, of Paradise, took Stoltzfoos, 18, against her will and killed her on June 21. Her body has not been found, despite numerous searches.
“All evidence leads to the inevitable conclusion that Justo Smoker killed Linda Stoltzfoos during the commission of her kidnapping and discarded her body,” the warrant states.
In the warrant, police discuss video surveillance, which shows two individuals, who they say are Smoker and Stoltzfoos, at the time and place where the teen was kidnapped in Lancaster County.
Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said the following:
“After reviewing and receiving all the evidence compiled in this investigation over the last six months, including additional evidence developed since the arrest of Smoker, we have come to the tragic and inescapable conclusion that Linda is deceased.”
There appear to be at least two pieces of additional information not before revealed, related to video footage and clothing evidence:
“After encountering Stoltzfoos, there appears to be motion toward the head area of Stoltzfoos consistent with placing something over her head and the two then walk together back across to the west side of Beechdale Road,” the warrant states.
In addition, police founded clothing that was later identified as Stoltzfioos’ buried in a wooded area in Ronks. Smoker’s DNA was found on the clothing after it was tested in a lab, the warrant states.
More comments from the Lancaster County D.A.:
“Given the circumstances of Linda’s disappearance; specifically, that she was forcefully abducted by a stranger, we always feared she suffered a tragic fate,” Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams says. “After careful consideration of all of the facts uncovered by the investigation as a whole, we are now in a position – legally – to charge Smoker with murder.”
And more on the charge from Lancaster Crime Watch.
The charge comes six months to the day when Linda disappeared on June 21st.
Many have been holding out hope that Linda is still alive. But authorities do not believe that is the case, and made that clear with this charge.