Man charged in disappearance of 18-year-old Amish woman from Pa.
BIRD-IN-HAND, Pa. (WHP/CNN) - As investigators continue the search for an 18-year-old Amish woman from Pennsylvania who went missing in late June, a suspect has been arrested on kidnapping charges.
Justo Smoker, 34, was arraigned Saturday morning on charges of felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment in the disappearance of 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos, an Amish woman from Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania.
Smoker is ineligible for bail, according to officials.
Police tracked down Smoker as a suspect because of his red Kia Rio. The criminal complaint details that eyewitnesses spotted the sedan on Beechdale Road, where Stolzfoos was believed to have last been seen. It was also captured on surveillance video.
Police say the car was flagged as a suspicious vehicle two days after Stolzfoos’ disappearance on June 21 after it was spotted in rural Ronks. Investigators found clothing believed to belong to Stolzfoos buried in a wooded area in Ronks this past Friday.
Cell phone records indicate Smoker was in the area the night of Stolzfoos’ abduction. Police believe the young woman may have been harmed during the abduction.
Members of the community, who attended a prayer service for Stolzfoos Saturday night, are holding out hope she will make it back home.
“God has a plan for you, Linda, and wherever you’re at, I call you forth to come,” said event attendee Lee Stoltzfus when asked what he would want the 18-year-old to know.
Neighbor Allen Miller says emotions were high at the service.
“As a whole, the community feels like they’ve been violated, as well as the families,” he said. “We are crying out to God, and we believe he has all the answers, while we don’t. There’s a sense of peace that we have when we trust him.”
Stolzfoos’ father reported her missing when she did not return from a youth group she planned to attend late into the night of June 21. Investigators confirmed she did not make it to that social gathering.
Police found nothing to indicate Stoltzfoos was unhappy and wanted to leave her community.
“The community is going to grow stronger through this, and even though some people are living in fear right now, it’s still bringing everyone together,” Stoltzfus said.
The Lancaster District Attorney says a news conference will be held in the next few days in regards to the case. They’re asking anyone that saw Smoker’s car on the day of Stolzfoos’ disappearance to call their office.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the recovery of Stoltzfoos and the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible for her disappearance.
Copyright 2020 WHP, CrimeWatch PA via CNN. All rights reserved.