Paradise Man Charged with Kidnapping 18YO Linda Stoltzfoos as Search for Stoltzfoos Continues

A Paradise man is charged with kidnapping an 18-year-old Amish woman who has been missing since June 21, when she was last seen walking home from church in the Bird-in-Hand area.

East Lampeter Township police charged 34-year-old Justo Smoker on Friday with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment.

The whereabouts of Linda Stoltzfoos remain unknown. Investigators are actively searching and working to determine what happened to Stoltzfoos after she was taken.

Investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction.

Smoker was arrested Friday night at his place of employment.

Smoker, of 3200 block of Lincoln Highway East, was arraigned Saturday morning on the two charges. He is presumed innocent.

District Judge Joshua Keller, at arraignment, made Smoker ineligible for bail, citing the nature of the charges and the ongoing investigation.

East Lampeter Township police Detective Christopher Jones filed charges.

East Lampeter Township police is being assisted by multiple agencies, to include the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police and Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators are asking anyone who might have seen Smoker - or his red Kia Rio sedan - around the time Stoltzfoos was abducted, and in the days after, to contact police at 717-291-4676.

Photos of Smoker and the vehicle - with a distinct spoiler and “LCM” sticker on the trunk - are included in this post. The Kia’s Pennsylvania registration is KYB-9713.

On Friday evening, investigators searched a rural location in Ronks, where they believed Stoltzfoos might have been taken after being kidnapped. Smoker’s vehicle was seen parked at that location on June 23.

Investigators found buried in a wooded area articles of clothing believed to belong to Stoltzfoos.

Smoker became a person of interest in the kidnapping after police received information about a red/orange vehicle seen in the Gap area on the afternoon of the abduction.

Multiple witnesses in that area reported seeing an Amish female in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by a male. Witness descriptions of the driver and vehicle are consistent with Smoker and his vehicle.

Police also obtained and viewed surveillance video - enhanced by FBI forensic technicians - that depicts the abduction of Linda Stoltzfoos on Beechdale Road. That video shows a red Kia Rio involved in the abduction.

Beechdale Road would have been part of Stoltzfoos’ walking route back home after church.

Her father reported her missing when she did not return from a youth group (she was to attend) late into the night of June 21.

Investigators confirmed she did not make it to that social gathering.

Police found nothing indicating Stoltzfoos was unhappy and wanted to leave her community.

NOTE: We understand this investigation is of high interest to the public and members of the media. We will be providing updates, as deemed appropriate. 

At this time, we are declining on-camera interviews, but are tentatively planning an in-person briefing in coming days.

In the meantime, we do not intend to answer questions piecemeal, but will be providing as many updates as possible during the search.

We ask that members of the media and public share and distribute, if possible, the photos of Smoker and his vehicle on broadcasts and reports and via social media channels.