The suspect arrested in connection with the missing an Amish teenager in Pennsylvania was the woman's third cousin once removed, Lancaster Online
The suspect arrested in connection with the missing an Amish teenager in Pennsylvania was the woman’s third cousin once removed, Lancaster Online reported.
Linda Stoltzfoos, the 18-year-old who was last seen in June in Bird-in-Hand in Lancaster County, and Justo Smoker, who was arrested on July 10, were distant relatives, according to the outlet, which cited historical newspaper reports and genealogy records.
Stoltzfoos’ great, great grandmother and Smoker’s great grandmother were sisters, Lancaster Online reported.
PENNSYLVANIA MAN CHARGED WITH KIDNAPPING MISSING AMISH WOMAN; POLICE BELIEVE SHE ‘WAS HARMED’
Police said during a Thursday press conference that their search for Stoltzfoos continues and the investigation into her disappearance is “active” and ongoing.
“In our initial press release, we stated that investigators have reason to believe Stoltzfoos was harmed following her abduction. To be clear, this remains our belief,” said Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams. “From all information received and evidence gathered, the Stoltzfoos family did not know Smoker and we found no reason that Linda would have voluntarily entered Smoker’s vehicle only a short distance from her home.”
AMISH TEENAGER MISSING FROM RURAL PENNSYLVANIA AFTER RELIGIOUS SERVICE
Stoltzfoos was last seen around noon on June 21 walking from a religious service, according to a Facebook page dedicated to her disappearance. She was supposed to go to a meeting with her youth group, but never made it there, police said.
Smoker, 34, was charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment, police said. He told investigators he did not know Stoltzfoos, according to Lancaster Online.
Police had received information connecting his distinct red-orange Kia Rio to the area where the teen was last seen on the day of her suspected abduction, officials said.
The four-door sedan is missing a hub-cap on its front passenger side, and features an “LCM” sticker on the trunk, police said.
Investigators learned Smoker’s car had been seen parked in a rural part of nearby Ronks, where witnesses said they had seen Stoltzfoos in the passenger seat of the vehicle.
The same night police arrested Smoker, they searched the land and found clothes that appeared to have belonged to the teen buried in a wooded area, police said.
“Certainly the discovery of intimate clothing buried in a location where Smoker’s vehicle was seen lends only to the conclusion that she suffered harm,” Adams added at Thursday’s press conference.
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Smoker is being held without bail while the investigation continues.
Police are asking anyone who lives in the areas of East Earl, East Lampeter, Paradise and Salisbury Township to review their exterior surveillance cameras, including those on doorbell devices, for any images showing the whereabouts of Smoker’s car.
Investigators are working to create a timeline of Smoker’s activity with the vehicle around the time of Stoltzfoos’ disappearance. Anyone who recognizes Smoker or the car is asked to call the local police at police at 717-291-4676.