Justo Smoker Ordered To Stand Trial On Charges Of Kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos

The judge at a preliminary hearing yesterday found that there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial in the case of Linda Stoltzfoos’ disappearance. Justo Smoker will be tried for felony kidnapping and misdemeanor imprisonment. Detective Christopher Jones testified. Via Penn Live:

“She was nice, caring and always wanted to know about other people,” Jones testified today.

The 18-year-old taught at an Amish school and worked in a nearby market. She didn’t have many non-Amish friends and never had a boyfriend.

She was active in her church and a youth group, and nothing out of the ordinary was going on in her life.

There was no reason that she would want to leave, Jones told the court. That’s why he and her family think something terrible happened to Linda Stoltzfoos. They believe she was kidnapped after leaving church June 21.

Furthering that notion, witnesses told Jones they saw a red Kia in the area, and some saw an Amish girl in the passenger seat – which would have been unusual on a Sunday, particularly while wearing her traditional church clothing.

Jones testified that police soon traced the Kia to Justo Smoker, 34, of Paradise Township.

Jones testified about the surveillance video:

East Lampeter Township police detective Christopher Jones said surveillance video recorded the kidnapping. The video wasn’t shown, but Jones described it.

He said a vehicle pulls onto the berm of Beechdale Road. A person is seen walking on the other side of the road. A male exits the vehicle and approaches the pedestrian. After a 6-second interaction, the two walk back to the car together.

Investigators allege Stoltzfoos was the pedestrian and Smoker was the man in the car, the release said.

At least two additional details were revealed in testimony, both chilling:

One witness told Jones that the girl believed to be Stoltzfoos did not return her wave from the car – also unusual in the Amish community – adding, “she looked at me with pleading eyes.”

And:

A cadaver dog and forensics team were brought in, and police soon found buried there a bra and a pair of stockings, which Jones said Stoltzfoos’ family identified as belonging to her. They also found a zip tie, which had been cut.

The buried clothing was known, but I believe this is the first public mention of a zip tie also being found.

Smoker’s Kia Rio

Smoker’s defense attorney attempted to raise some questions about the evidence:

Defense attorney Christopher Tallarico worked to poke holes in some of the testimony and evidence. He pointed out that some of the details on the Kia, like the black trim, could not be seen on the zoomed-in video of the abduction, and he called the image that Jones said was Stoltzfoos walking from church “pixels.” He argued it’s not identifiable as a human being, but Jones said one could clearly see it is someone walking.

I don’t want to turn this into a crime or legal website, but a number of you have been asking for updates on Linda’s case. So I’ll plan to keep you informed with posts when the news warrants it.

Smoker will be arraigned on August 28. Linda remains missing.

If you have any info on the case, please call East Lampeter Township Police at 717-291-4676, or Pennsylvania State Police at 717-299-7650.

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    13 Comments

    1. Geo

      updates

      I appreciate the updates, painful though they are. As bad as it looks for this man, he is entitled to due process. The justice system must run it’s course which includes an advocate to put on the best possible case for him. It would be a challenge.

      1. Marshell Foss

        Counter Argument

        So, Your Honor, you willingly will allow the final decision to come down to not enough evidence to persuade, or even judicial preference, and highlight the so-called “winner,” of the debate between the two sides even though, in the end, the verdict may only be based on which attorney “sounded” more believable. The defense attorney is already throwing mush at the alligations without the effort or time to investigate. Should he find from his investigation that his client truly was the murderer, then his “Juditional Protocol” is to remain fast and steady in the direction he is being “paid” to perform in public view. The Constitution does not work two ways or is it intended to be left up to the last man standing, such as in this case, a court trial. He’ll get his justice don’t worry, BUT WILL THE POOR AND INNOCENT AMISH GIRL AND HER FAMILY GET THEIR’S?

        1. Geo

          Justice

          The painful truth is nothing will bring justice to this girl and her family. Our system of jurisprudence, like every human creation, is not flawless. It’s just all we have. Like the famous comment about democracy, it’s the worst system except for all the rest.

    2. Prayers

      May God be with Linda, her family, friends and the rest of the Plain Community. Such a senseless and cruel crime. Breaks my heart that such innocence can be taken by evil. Blessings from Muskegon, Michigan.

    3. michelle

      Linda's abductor

      Hmm with this new information presented it may be possible that Linda hands were bound with the zip tie and she could not wave?! Hind site is 20/20 but I’m guessing the people who witnessed this (non wave which is customary) wish they would have reported this sooner. At any rate, hope they cut him a deal and quick!. He tells where/what he did with her and his sentence is life without possibility of parole vs death penalty. Whatever the case I pray Linda’s suffering was brief. Poor innocent young vibrant woman. And for those readers who want to believe she is still on this earth, read the horrible police evidence. She unfortunately is not as I too wanted to believe.

    4. C. J.

      SO Sad

      I know that Amish are taught to accept and forgive….. that it is God’s will, BUT, one can only imagine the sorrow and questions her family must continue to have to live with every day ~
      The old saying “You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip”, or “you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink” … are true.
      Also, true of the guy in jail…. cannot force him to admit what he did to her & where to find her?
      Plea agreement, some way to find out?
      Just So Sad ~ continued ♥️ & prayers for her family ~

      1. Geo

        Talking

        Not to prejudge the prime suspect; but getting a person with no conscience or sense of right and wrong to admit wrongdoing is difficult unless and until he believes it may spare him punishment. The death penalty is primitive and does not seem to be a deterrent but holding it over a killer’s head often motivates revealing a victim’s whereabouts. If death penalty is available in that state, that negotiation can only take place after a conviction and as part of the penalty phase. That could take awhile.

        1. Missing Amish girl, Linda Stoltzfoos

          Geo: The problem with the death penalty is that it ends up costing the taxpayer lots more money than a life sentence without parole. Appeals and delays can go on for years, and they are very expensive!

          1. Geo

            A problem

            Certainly pragmatism is A problem, not the WHOLE problem. It’s counter productive for sure. The finality troubles me. The Oklahoma City bomber will never reveal any more about it. I still have questions. More conspirators involved, etc. Death doesn’t work as a deterrent which only leaves retribution. Humane execution seems too little payback for some crimes. It’s a primitive response that fails on too many levels.

    5. Deb

      Thank you for the update

      I hope Smoker starts talking.

    6. Jan

      Heavy hearted

      Your updates, heavy as they are to process are much appreciated. Thank you for them. Do, please continue with new discoveries and information as you become aware. As Linda & her family’s unknown supporters,feel great,
      compassion, sadness and sorrow for her and her family.
      God bless you and everyone involved.
      Thank yoù

    7. Romain S.

      Terrible silence

      That Smoker, keep his silence, is terrible. I put myself in the shoes of poor Linda’s parents, family and friends. Until Smoker confesses and says where the body is, mourning cannot be done. The reality will be harsh if the poor girl has been killed and the fact that the body is given to the family for a dignified burial will be a “relief” because the burial ceremony will have been able to take place. But to remain for years without knowing anything, or with the hope that she is still alive somewhere but locked up, suffering, tortured, that must be terrible …

    8. S Lee

      Smoker

      Since he was adopted at a young age after being on the streets it sounds like he may have a condition called RADs (Reactive Detachment Disorder). These children are neglected of the parental love at birth and early childhood when human attachment is developed so they are unable to become attached to others. We have friends that have adopted and are dealing with this. They can actually become murderous even to those who love them and are trying to help them. I say this not to his defense but why he seems so heartless and not revealing her whereabouts.