Man Arrested & Charged With Kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos; Linda Still Missing

News just broke this afternoon: 34-year-old Lancaster County resident Justo Smoker was arrested last night and charged with kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos. A vehicle resembling Smoker’s was seen by multiple witnesses in the area of Gap with an Amish female in the passenger seat on the afternoon Linda went missing.

Justo Smoker
Justo Smoker

Linda remains missing, and “investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction,” according to the district attorney’s office. From Lancaster Online:

A 34-year-old Paradise Township man is charged with kidnapping Linda Stoltzfoos, an 18-year-old Amish woman who has been missing since June 21, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office.

Police charged Justo Smoker Friday, July 10, and arrested him at his place of employment. He is currently in Lancaster County Prison without bail, according to the district attorney’s office.

Linda Stoltzfoos is still missing, police said, and investigators are still searching for her.

“Investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction,” the district attorney’s office said.

Smoker is charged with felony kidnapping and a misdemeanor of false imprisonment.

The arrest happened on the same day the FBI issued a reward for information on Stoltzfoos’ whereabouts.

According to the district attorney’s office, Smoker became a person of interest after police were told that multiple witnesses had seen a red or orange vehicle in the Gap area with an Amish woman in the passenger seat and a man driving on the afternoon after Stoltzfoos went missing.

More on the investigation:

Police used surveillance video enhanced by FBI forensic technicians to see what they believe is the abduction of Stoltzfoos near Beechdale Road, which would’ve been part of her walk back home from church, the district attorney’s office said.

The video came from the 500 block of Beechdale Road, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Friday evening, investigators searched a rural location in Ronks, where they believed Stoltzfoos might have been taken after being kidnapped, the district attorney’s office said.

Smoker’s car was seen parked at the location on June 23, the district attorney’s office said, and investigators found articles of clothing they believe belonged to Stoltzfoos.

Investigators are asking anyone who might have seen Smoker or his red Kia Rio sedan around June 21 or after to contact police at 717-291-4676.

More on the car description and photos:

Smoker’s car has a “distinct spoiler and ‘LCM’ sticker on the trunk,” the district attorney’s office said. The license plate registration is KYB-9713.

The report contains further details. A business owner in Ronks (Harvest Drive) spotted Smoker’s car behind his building on June 23, and a man believed to be Smoker walking around the building looking into doors and windows. Yesterday investigators found Linda’s clothing buried near the same business.

Another detail – I assume the police think this could be related if they’ve released this info: a “married couple that were also in the Amish community” saw an Amish woman riding in a red or orange car around a week later – June 29. The woman was wearing a white apron and black prayer covering.

What got their attention: “the couple thought it was odd because Amish churches in that area don’t wear black head coverings and when the woman waived to the car’s passenger, she never waved back, which is an Amish tradition, according to the affidavit.”

The greatest concern remains Linda’s whereabouts and the hope that she is still alive. Again anyone who might have seen Smoker or the car is requested to contact the police at 717-291-4676.

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    44 Comments

    1. W co

      Tragic

      I was very afraid when I read about the FBI reward definitely not a long-term resident of Lancaster..
      I’ll hold my tongue until I know more facts.

    2. More on Justo Smoker

      Here’s more on Justo Smoker from a second article at Lancaster Online: https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/who-is-justo-smoker-heres-what-we-know-about-the-man-charged-with-kidnapping-linda/article_4f4b53ba-c3b6-11ea-9ded-0f8dba90ea12.html

      Justo Roberto Smoker, of the 3200 block of Lincoln Highway, was released from prison last year, according to the state’s online inmate locator.

      Smoker was sentenced to serve 12 1/2 to 30 years in prison after a string of armed robberies in 2006.

      He was a former high school wrestling all-star who had a 3.0 grade point average and earned a place on the Lancaster-Lebanon wrestling all-star team in 2003, according to LNP | LancasterOnline reporting.

      Smoker pleaded guilty to the robberies, during which he and his brother, Victor, used a BB gun to rob four different businesses between Aug. 8 and Aug. 13, 2006.

      Victor was released from prison in 2016.

      Judge Joseph Madenspacher told Justo Smoker at the sentencing hearing in 2007 that he could have fashioned a sentence that would have kept him in prison for twice as long, if not for the rest of his life, according to LNP | Lancaster Online reporting at the time.

      But, Madenspacher said, he imposed a sentence that ensures “society is protected, but that you could still come out and lead a reasonable life.”

      In addition to the prison sentence, Smoker was ordered to pay $7,286 in restitution.

      He ended up serving nearly the minimum on that sentence and was released on Feb. 28, 2019.

      1. Melanie

        Kept in prison

        If he was kept in prison this would not have happened.

    3. Sharon Thomas

      Linda

      Prayers continued for this sweet girl.

      1. Connie may

        any news

        manyprayers she is found safe and for her family i know they are going ont of their minds . has there been any new information on her

    4. Elnora L

      that poor young girl….

    5. Larry Simon

      Help the family trust you

      Lord Jesus we thank you for more information about Linda and her possible apprehender. There are so many questions and fears concerning Linda. Lord Jesus help Linda and her family, as the conclusion of this traumatic situation may be coming to an conclusion, to experience your love for them. Please Lord continue to help them to trust in your providential work in their family. We ask that you keep Linda in your love and protection and that your perfect will is done. Lord Our hope and desire is that Linda is reunited with her family. Thank you Lord for your love and care for this family. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

      1. June

        Prayers for Linda

        Amen to your prayer.
        May God hold the family close to Him at this time.
        If it be His will, please let Linda be found safe.
        God knows and cares for His own. And we Thank you for the information received thus far. Praying for a miracle in this situation.

      2. Christine M

        Commission the Angels to find her

        Lord Jesus, we humbly come before you, seeking your wisdom, your mercy, and your grace in this very sad situation.
        Lord please commission the correct angels to help the authorities, and all of those seeking for Linda to find her. Send your ministering angels to minster unto her.
        I pray in Jesus name that she is found alive and well, and that Linda be reunited with her family.
        I pray for Linda’s family, that they continue to fix their eyes upon you Lord. That through all situations your grace is sufficient to keep them, comfort them, strengthen them, let them feel your Love always.
        In the Precious Name of Jesus Christ we make this decree!

        1. Reader

          Mr Smoker resembles the young man I dated in High School. I’m sure they are not related. We were so in love, but family disapproved. In the same way, I’m certain Linda would not have been allowed to befriend or date him, thus I doubt that she would voluntarily accept a ride. Additionally, a shy and bashful person who was thought to always be respectful and nice would not kick, bite, etc., unless she was re-thaught otherwise. Instead this personality would show in other ways that something is wrong, such as not keeping a formality like the Amish couple observed, or in some way staying at a distance. Salute to the FBI for a job well done. Please find Linda soon. Praying.

    6. michelle

      Linda update

      Investigators must have found blood and or bodily fluids for them to believe she was harmed. Articles of clothing being buried and or found wouldn’t conclude this unless blood found on them or they were ripped as in a sign of struggle.However it is possible she could still be alive. He doesn’t appear to be a stellar citizen but until we exhaust all or he confesses we must continue to have hope. In any event I sure hope she isn’t or wasn’t suffering. Horrible horrible horrible.

    7. hold judgement, for it is not ours to dispense

      I am grateful for information, after so long without. I would, however, suggest that we hold off on making judgements at this time, in part because it may affect Linda’s well-being, and in part because it is not necessarily our place to make any judgement here. It occurs to me that while we must be prepared for the worst, we must also continue to hope (and pray, if we are so inclined) for the best outcome to this difficult situation. Linda Stoltzfoos occupies am important place in my heart, as does her family.

    8. Gordon Bjorkman

      Linda, we pray that you will come home, safe and sound. Lord, we ask that you will help this girl, as we love her dearly.

    9. Alex Knisely

      We can hope only that she was not frightened, and not in pain, for very long

      Poor little girl . . .

    10. michelle

      Linda's abductor

      Since she has been described at shy and timid I rather doubt she would have “accepted” a ride from a total stranger. It is possible she recognized him or even knew him and willingly accept a ride home or possibly someone else, an accomplice could be involved in her disappearance? It isn’t fathomable for a lone driver to grab a person and keep control of the car. A person in danger would resist kick scream bite scratch and or run etc.Some sort of a struggle must have taken place. Or a device to immediately silence her. My question is one we may never get the answer to. How could she be riding in the front seat passing by her kind (Amish couple saw this)and not scream, jump or make a commotion. Since Linda was missing for some time before her family was even aware, it is possible initially she didn’t feel threatened by this person. I am sure she was terrified for what followed. Please pray hard she is at peace wherever she is.

    11. C. Lord

      Evil in our world

      I know it is not my place to judge and impose any punishment. But there is certainly evil in this world. If the evidence is overwhelming, This man should be “convinced”( if you know what I mean.) to tell her whereabouts!
      Lord forgive me but I feel anger and no forgiveness toward such evil people in this world.

      1. Anger? Yes. Disgust, too.

        I am angry and disgusted when I read about this guy, and about all beings whose purpose on earth I can not fathom. I’m finding it difficult to repress those feelings, but feel that I must look inward for strength and outward for wisdom to carry on in a positive way… to be as good an example as I can to all others – even those as seemingly vile as this.

        1. Mrs Bennett

          I do not understand why complete strangers to Linda would feel angry, when they are not involved with the situation. Should it not be better to feel compassion toward Linda’s parents and siblings? After all, Linda’s family will be required by the Ordnung to forgive. A good-hearted stranger’s anger seems to be a very inappropriate emotion. And disgust? While I can’t say that you did the same, let’s wait on the facts before judgement. This man will have his day in court, and emotions should not rule the court’s decision.

          1. Reader

            Mrs Bennett, you are talking as if they were going to get married but I see your point about anger, because people’s anger we have riots and most never met the man they are angry about. He too will have his day in court and that should be the only thing that matters.

    12. a misunderstanding, to be sure

      I believe Mrs Bennett has misunderstood my words, or perhaps has made an unintended jump to an unproposed outcome. I meant to be very clear in a previous post, wherein I stated that we should not judge, for it is not our place to do so. The anger and disgust relates to the state of affairs at this time. It is frustrating that a girl such as Linda can disappear in our society, and that a person who MAY have harmed her should be out and about. I could not agree more in that forgiveness is to be desired… and that the Ordnung will likely fulfill this directive, as difficult as it may seem. This man, whether he has harmed Linda or not, is our brother, just as we are all brothers, sisters, (cousins, if you will) if one believes we are all descended from created beings. Yes, we must wait for events to unfold before coming to any conclusions.

      1. Reader

        Not to be funny on this serious topic but “unintended” “unproposed” sounds like: breaking up is hard to do … I really should get a college education.

        1. on language... and education

          Sorry if “unintended” and “unproposed” rubbed some folks the wrong way. I spent a boatload of money getting a legal education (JD), and I can’t seem to keep that out of my writing style. After working my butt off to pay for that education (I am NOT a practicing attorney), I still try to “write pretty” (if that makes any sense). AND… with that legal education, I try very hard to be fair and objective in circumstances that are touchy or potentially incendiary. My apologies.
          My heart goes out to the Stoltzfoos family and I continue to hope for the best for Linda.

          1. Reader

            My apologies too. I’m just intrigued how a college educated person and a high school only educated person can misunderstand each other sometimes. I do appreciate the way you write “pretty”, I admire that.

      2. Loren Johns

        Cousins

        Speaking of cousins, has anyone picked up on the fact that Justo Smoker’s adoptive father, Vernon, is a 2nd cousin to Rachel Stoltzfoos’s grandmother, Sarah Ann (King) King? I haven’t seen that reported in the news.

        1. Reader

          Truthfully, genealogy confuses me. I barely know my own lineages. This simply wasn’t very important to talk about in my family. (Mother will surely disagree) But I wonder how and why you and Jeanne would know this information if you are not related or if it was not mentioned on the news? Perhaps these relatives are also a “person of interest” (learned that from TV) and now you blew the whistle for them to be cautious. This is the danger in discussing these things in public, while our intention is to help, we might make the FBI’s job more difficult.

          1. Loren Johns

            Cousins

            Unlike you (and many others), I am interested in genealogy and spend a lot of time studying it. Since both Smoker and Stoltzfoos are Amish names, I simply looked them up in my own genealogical database and was surprised how closely related they are/were. I feel very sorry about Linda and am worried about what may have happened. Just because Sarah King and Vernon Smoker are 2nd cousins does not mean that they know it. They might; they might not. And even if they do, that does not mean that Justo and Linda knew they were related (via adoption).

            1. Loren Johns

              Cousins

              … and for what it’s worth, both Justo Smoker and Linda Stoltzfoos are my 6th cousins once removed. We are all three related to each other on the Fisher side. (It’s a big family.)

              1. Reader

                Well it’s not much worth to me, but I do admire families who are not scattered as my family is. You are very blessed. I hope you are appreciative of this fact and don’t expect others to be like you. A little compassion could lead to a friendship.

            2. Reader

              True, I’m not very interested in genealogy and so I have one request: if I should ever be in the news, please do not go snooping around in my family’s genealogy. This is information only the Authorities should know! Frankly, it should not be of your concern who my relatives are and I would appreciate some privacy for myself as well. I have little tolerance for person’s who covet and disclose other people’s personal information. Perhaps I should research your genealogy and tell everyone.

              1. Public genealogy

                Ehh, genealogy is something Amish and Amish-background folks are often interested in. Not surprising in a family-oriented culture with a rich well-documented history in this country. They publish big genealogical books and you’ll find them in Amish homes. I’m guessing Loren probably used one of those. In any case I’d hardly see it as “snooping”.

                1. June

                  Prayers for Linda

                  I love learning Genealogy. My moms family came from Alsace- Lorraine. It’s the only way to sometimes find out just “ Where” your family was from. When there aren’t family to tell you.
                  I pray everyday for Linda to be found. I personally think this is a horrible situation for her family to deal with. The Amish are a beautiful kind people but still human. God is strong in their lives but as the good book says – We all fall short – Only God is perfect.
                  Regardless of who her family tree branches to- we must Pray for Linda to be found – Safe we pray –
                  For her family to find peace in the situation- and as the Amish culture is forgiving- It is their right to wait for judgement against others as they trust God to be the Judge. It doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting. It’s just more of their beliefs to put their faith in all things first.

                  1. Reader

                    Love to study genealogy

                    That’s nice that you love studying gemology. My mother is dating a man who has many single, adult sons. If my mother gets re-married then all of his sons become my half-brothers. Since I think it’s gross to date a brother, maybe I can introduce you to one of them. They all can be very nice, if they want to be nice. In the meantime, enjoy studying your family’s genealogy and not that of a stranger. Thanks.

    13. Michelle

      Emotions

      Geez friends, we are all saddened at this event. I doubt it’s anger just really feeling down for Linda and her family and friends as well. Sorry folks I can not forgive this man for snuffing out a beautiful young person for no purpose. Amish may forgive but I doubt her family will be at Complete peace ever. They are human! This could happen again and again . Then what? Keep forgiving evil??? Nope I won’t. He needs to take his punishment for life as he took hers. Let’s be realistic, no one has seen heard or had a clue that she is still alive on this earth. Let’s hope the accused can have some mercy and tell where her remains are so her family can find peace And have closure.

      1. Reader

        Michelle, you asked if we are to forgive evil again and again. While some are slower to forgive than others, if these posts cause you stress and anger, and the situation does not impact you directly, then i would suggest you remove yourself from any future updates.

        Most certainly do not take vengeance into your own hands nor rally a group of people to take vengeance, instead encourage the FBI to do their best and Salute them when an arrest is made.

        If you feel like you must get involved, then be vigilant for any young person who might be in distress and offer to call the Human Trafficking Hotline or the Victim Intervention Program/Rape Crises Line at 214-590-0430.

        Please note that sometimes young women are misled into thinking that they are in a loving relationship, when the man’s intention is not honorable nor marriage hopeful, and others are kidnapped and raped and become missing persons.

        We must continue to pray for Linda’s return to her family and that that with God’s help and love she will overcome any traumatic experiences.

        1. Michelle

          Response to a reader

          No one is asking you for your wacky advice,lol We are able to state opinions here. Period . No stress and how dare you say remove self from post. yes killers of innocent young woman walking home shall rot in hell. That’s my opinion , you don’t have to agree!!! If I want your opinion I’d ask you, not really lol. You can forgive this monster but I won’t and I really don’t care what you think.And national suicide hotline ? What does this have to do with Linda being abducted???Please monitor these posts. This person is seriously in need of her own advice! I like the title a reader, how original

          1. Stephanie Berkey

            She didn’t suggest calling the suicide hotline, but ones that help prevent this kind of tragedy in the future. That’s one way of healing, to get involved like that. Another way is pushing for justice, like you seem to be doing here. A reader also suggested forgiveness can take time, which can be helpful since Jesus paid for all offenses, even crimes like this and can heal us all, and will ensure those who won’t repent are not allowed to harm anyone in the eternities.

            1. Connie May

              Praying

              I agree that the Amish are a peace loving people and like us the English as we are called there are some bad people they are human . I pray that their sweet girl will come home unharmed , the waiting has to be horrible for her parents and family . 2001 we lost our daughter in her sleep at the age of 25 unexpected . The pain is devastating and even though you know they are with God you still have the pain of loss and emptiness as a mother , grandmother and now great grandmother I treasure all of them praying for this family is the least we all can do no judgment no putting blame on one or another but just coming together as one and praying that God will bring her home safe.
              From Lexington, Kentucky

    14. Elnora Lindsay

      Well I’m angry and disgusted that a girl can’t walk home in peace. Hopefully her family will be told what happened to her because not knowing must be such torment.

      1. Reader

        Okay, then let’s be angry and disgusted for all victims who fell into the hands of criminals, let’s have compassion towards their families, and give every accused person a fair trail. Isn’t this what America is all about? Justice for all, victims and criminals.

        1. Reader

          Why is there such an outcry for some victims and silence for other victims? And why are some criminals forgiven, and riots destroy cities for other criminals?

          American citizens need to stop taking vengeance, and let all Authorities in all offices and departments do their job according to their training and wisdom.

          Just in case anyone needs this,
          National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

    15. Reader

      In my opinion

      Why can you give your opinion and I can not give mine? I have not given any advice. I gave a suggestion that you can ignore if you so desire. And you can disagree with me, as I might disagree with you. This does not offend me. I respect individuality.

      In my opinion, those who demand respect are the ones who least likely will give respect. So, you probably will call me a liar, even if I speak the truth.

      Concerning my name: those who need to know my name, know … Those who do not need to know, to them I’m an alien from out of space.

      I agree with you in this: I talk too much and I post too much. So from this moment on I will considerably limit my posts. Perhaps this will make you happy again.

    16. Alex Knisely

      Vernon Smoker, Justo Smoker, and "cousins"

      So Justo was adopted — taken in off the street when he was aged seven years, according to a defence-attorney statement made some years ago, when Justo was being held to account for a crime committed with his brother.

      (Their adoptive father, Vernon, reportedly said, “He’s been trouble since we got him.” * * * No kind deed goes unpunished, I suppose.)

      This information helps me understand two things better. The first is the “Amish surname” — the second is how Linda might have trusted this bloke who offered her a ride home . . .

      My bet is that Justo speaks Pennsilvanish Daitsh, picked up in his adoptive family, and that to be addressed in her own language meant, for Linda, that she had nothing to fear.

    17. Margaret

      Similarities

      I suppose this isn’t very Christian of me but I think this man should be brought up on enhanced charges if they find he did do something to this young girl. Make him eligible for the death penalty. They charged Richard Allen Davis with first degree murder and rape. And CA did vote the death penalty for this man. Make him sweat, charge him with enhanced circumstances and then offer to take it off the table if he’ll show them where Linda is.