Investigators in Pennsylvania have arrested a man they believe kidnapped a missing Amish teen as she was walking home from a church service last month.
Linda Stoltzfoos, 18, was last seen walking home from church on June 21 in Bird-In-Hand, the East Lampeter Township Police Department stated last month. Her father reported her missing after she didn’t return home from a youth group meeting that same evening, which she failed to attend, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Saturday.
Justo Smoker, 34, was arrested Friday and charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment, the district attorney’s office stated.
Stoltzfoos is still missing.
“Investigators are actively searching and working to determine what happened to Stoltzfoos after she was taken,” the district attorney’s office stated. “Investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction.”
Smoker became a person of interest in the case after investigators were tipped off about a red or orange vehicle in the area where Stoltzfoos was last seen. Stoltzfoos drives a red Kia Rio sedan.
“Multiple witnesses in that area reported seeing an Amish female in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by a male,” the statement said, adding that Smoker and his car fit the descriptions.
Furthermore, investigators claim that they searched a rural area of Ronks — located just minutes away from where the teen vanished — “where they believed Stoltzfoos might have been taken after being kidnapped,” according to the statement. “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 is being held without bail. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.
The search for Stoltzfoos, who is described as a white female who is 5’10” and weighs approximately 125 pounds, is continuing. The district attorney’s office noted “police found nothing indicating Stoltzfoos was unhappy and wanted to leave her community.”
Her community is praying for her but they are also already expressing forgiveness for anyone involved in her alleged kidnapping, local outlet Fox43 reports.
Allen Miller, who organized a vigil for the missing teen over the weekend, told the outlet, “We are praying for the person or persons involved in this.”
Investigators are urging members of the public who may have seen either Smoker or his car around the time Stoltzfoos was abducted, or in the days after, to contact the east Lampeter Township Police Department at (717)-291-4676. His Kia had a distinct spoiler and an “LCM” sticker on the trunk. The Kia’s Pennsylvania registration is KYB-9713.
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