Pennsylvania man charged with kidnapping of Amish teen who is still missing, ‘feared harmed

BIRD-IN-HAND, Pa. — A Paradise, Pennsylvania, man has been charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Linda Stoltzfoos, an Amish teenager who has been missing for nearly one month.

East Lampeter Township police arrested Justo Smoker, 34, Friday night and charged him with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment in the June 21 disappearance of Stoltzfoos, 18, WGAL reported.

Stoltzfoos was last seen walking home from church, the TV station reported.

Smoker was arraigned Saturday morning on both charges, and District Judge Joshua Keller ruled him ineligible for bail, citing the nature of the charges and the ongoing investigation, NBC News reported.

According to a news release issued by the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office, investigators still do not know what happened to Stoltzfoos and continue to actively search for her. It was stated that they have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction.

Smoker became a person of interest in the kidnapping after police received information from multiple witnesses about seeing an Amish woman in the passenger side of a red/orange vehicle driving in the area on the afternoon of the abduction. On Friday, investigators discovered articles of clothing believed to belong to Stoltzfoos buried in a wooded area in rural Ronks, Pennsylvania. Smoker’s vehicle, a red Kia Rio sedan, was seen by witnesses parked in that area on June 23, NBC News reported.

Lt. Matt Hess with the East Lampeter Township Police Department told “Dateline” at the time of Stoltzfoos’ disappearance that there was no indication the teen “wanted to just leave.”

“She did not indicate to anyone that she wanted to leave or take a trip. From what we understand, just running off without telling anyone would be very out of character for Linda,” Hess told “Dateline.”

Stoltzfoos is described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 125 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.


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