Missing persons

This Young Amish Woman is Still Missing. A Red Car is the Key to Her Case

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A man accused of kidnapping 18-year-old Amish woman Linda Stoltzfoos is still in custody, but there have been no breaks in the search for Linda, police said Thursday.

Justo Smoker, 34, is in the Lancaster County Prison without bail after he was arrested at the water treatment/construction company where he works.

The Lancaster County District Attorney's Office said it needs more information from people who saw a red Kia around June 21, the date of Stoltzfoos' disappearance.

And the affidavit of probable cause in the case, provided to NBC10 but first reported by Lancaster news outlets, offered details on the investigation that were previously unknown.

Took the road home

Stoltzfoos' father reported her missing around 2:30 a.m. June 22, but she went missing well before that, after leaving afternoon church services June 21.

After church, Stoltzfoos and another woman helped with dishes and chatted briefly. Linda told the woman her plan to walk home and change her clothes before heading to a youth group meeting.

But she never arrived home or to the youth group. Her family assumed she was there, and her friends, not seeing her at the youth group meeting, assumed she was home sick.

Stoltzfoos tutored children with learning disabilities and was employed in the community. She hadn't expressed a desire to leave, police said.

And on her 0.9-mile walks home from church, she did not usually cut through fields. She was seen on surveillance video walking along the side of Stumptown Road, barefoot and carrying her shoes, the affidavit says. Also, there is a creek in the area and it's unlikely she would have tried to cross the creek in her church clothes.

Police say that while Stoltzfoos was walking home from church between 12:30 p.m. and 1:10 p.m., Smoker pulled up to her in the red Kia Rio and she got in the car.

The car

Lancaster County District Attorney's Office
A composite of two images of the Kia. Note the spoiler and the "LCM" sticker on the back.

The red Kia Rio was spotted in the area that day, but police believe more information on its whereabouts can help them find Linda.

The affidavit mentions multiple witnesses who saw the car, including one couple who say they waved to a woman in the passenger seat - believed to be Stoltzfoos - and got concerned when she didn't wave back.

That couple and a man who was traveling in his horse and carriage said the woman in the Kia was wearing a black head covering, which struck them as odd. Women in that community don't wear black head coverings to church and did not travel in a vehicle in their church clothing.

The missing clothes

The car was later seen in a wooded area, and investigators found a bra and stockings knotted together and buried no more than eight inches in the ground.

The affidavit mentions Stoltzfoos' family saying that Linda would have tied those into a knot to carry as she walked home. The wooded area - in Ronks - is about 3 miles from where Stoltzfoos went missing.

Anyone who has more information on the car should contact police at 717-291-4676. A $10,000 FBI reward for certain information remains available, officials said Thursday.

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