July 23, 2021 – Justo Smoker plead guilty to 3rd Degree Murder of Linda Stoltzfoos and could be sentenced up to 71 years and also must serve 17 years for parole violation
Smoker has pleaded guilty to charges of murder in the third-degree (criminal homicide), tampering/fabricating physical evidence, possession of an instrument of crime, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and abuse of a corpse.
Smoker also read a statement reading: “I know Linda was light. Because of me the world is dimmer and all I can say is I’m sorry.”
April 21, 2020 – Police have stated that human remains have been found. No official identification at this time, but it is likely Linda Stoltzfoos.
UPDATES are in reverse chronological order
3/8/21 UPDATE – During a hearing, on March 5, the Judge announced that Smoker would be tried on charges that he murdered an Amish woman. Prosecution stated that testimony from several other Amish women said someone apparently was stalking them the day before Stoltzfoos’ disappearance in a car like Smoker’s red Kio Rio with a missing hubcap and a dented roof.
The detective outlined video surveillance and cell phone tracking evidence that he said placed Smoker and his car in the area of the abduction. That evidence shows Smoker drove to the heavily forested Welsh Mountain area, then drove to a spot in the 3100 block of Harvest Drive where police found a buried bra and stockings they believe belonged to Stoltzfoos.
UPDATE: The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced December 20, 2020, that police have filed criminal homicide charges against Justo Smoker,
Original Story: A preliminary hearing was held today for Justo Smoker, the man who was charged for the disappearance of Linda Stoltzfoos, the young Amish woman that went missing on her way home from church.
You might be interested in: Who is Justo Smoker. I also talk about the Craigslist ad that I found in the post.
Grace Griffaton from Fox 43 News posted: “Happening NOW: We’re waiting for Justo Smoker’s preliminary hearing to begin. It’s being held in the largest courtroom at the Lancaster County courthouse. Five men from the Amish community are here.”
No cameras were allowed in the courtroom, so we had to wait until the reporters that were allowed in the courtroom tell the public what happened.
The judge ordered Smoker to be tried for felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment.
The defense stated they had:
a. A video showing a vehicle pulling onto the berm of Beechdale Road, then a person is seen walking on the other side of the road, and a man exits the vehicle and approaches the pedestrian. The detective said there is a 6-second interaction before the two walk back to the car.
b. Surveillance photos that show Smoker’s vehicle around the abduction site in the morning and afternoon of June 21, as well as two days later.
c. Photos showing Smoker’s vehicle traveling around an area where Stoltzfoos’s clothing and a plastic zip tie were found buried in a wooded area off of Harvest Road.
Was is interesting is the zip tie. If you remember back, a witness who stated they saw Linda in the car, said Linda did not wave back which is customary. It is likely Linda could not wave back as she may have had her arms tied at that time. Is it possible Smoker came up beside Linda and slipped a zip tie around her wrists and escorted her to his car, thus keeping her from fighting back? Or did he wait until she got into the car and at some point put the zip ties on her wrists to keep her from escaping.
There is also a statement about her head covering. A witness stated it was black, but many were saying her head covering would have been white. But, after doing research I found out that Linda would have been wearing the black covering walking home and not the white covering that is seen in her picture.
“Black bonnets are worn by Amish women who are not yet married. If a single Amish woman wants to attend church, go out in town or just converse with some neighbors, she will usually place a black bonnet over her head to signify her relationship status.” AmishFurnitureFacttory.com
Below is the timeline on what has been happening. You can also search at the top of this page on the right side for other articles on this case.
- June 21: Linda Stoltzfoos doesn’t return home from church.
- June 22: Search for Linda.
- June 23: Search near Enterprise Drive and Old Philadelphia Pike.
- June 24: The FBI joins East Lampeter Township Police in search efforts.
- June 29: Officials asks for video and tips from residents on Mill Creek School, Gibbons, Beechdale, Stumptown, or Mill Creek Roads between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on June 21.
- July 11: The Lancaster District Attorney’s Office announces an arrest in the case. 34-year-old Justo Smoker, of Paradise was taken into custody.
- Surveillance footage catches a red Kia Rio, which matches the description of Smoker’s car, on the 500 block of Beechdale Road on June 21. Police say a person believed to be Smoker approached Linda and Linda and him are seen going to the car. The car is seen driving off. Witnesses earlier stated seeing Linda in the car, and she didn’t wave.
- August 5: Preliminary Hearing for Justo Smoker