Authorities imagine the stays present in Lancaster County have been of Amish teen Linda Stoltzfoos – CBS Pittsburgh
LANCASTER, PA (AP / KDKA) – Authorities firmly believe the remains of a young Amish woman who disappeared last summer were found the day before in a grave along the railroad tracks in southern Pennsylvania. This was announced by a prosecutor on Thursday.
According to police, on Wednesday, the tenth anniversary of Linda Stoltzfoos’ disappearance, the Lancaster County’s coroner office was called to a rural area in the eastern part of the county where human remains were discovered.
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Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said at a news conference that a coroner did not perform positive forensic identification.
But, said Adams, the remains appear to be those of a woman the same age as 18-year-old Stoltzfoos and were buried with a dress, bonnet and shoes like those Stoltzfoos wore on the day she disappeared. She was last seen walking home from church in the Bird-in-Hand area on June 21, 2020.
“We closed the family and… one of our main goals in this case was to get Linda home from day one and be able to say we did that and know that this family can give their daughter a real one Funeral. That in itself makes sense, ”said Adams.
Justo Smoker, 35, from Paradise, was charged with murder in December, and a district judge ruled in March that there was enough evidence to support a murder trial. Smoker was originally arrested in August and charged with kidnapping and wrongful imprisonment.
Adams declined to say what exactly led the authorities to the grave or whether Smoker provided the information under a contract with prosecutors. Stoltzfoos’ body was found in the small town of Gap along Route 41 in a brush area on a railroad lot behind a shop that Smoker had worked for.
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According to cell phone data, Smoker hadn’t been in business the day Stoltzfoos went missing, Adams said. Authorities believe Smoker killed Stoltzfoos within hours of her abduction, buried her in a location where her stockings and bra were found, and took her a few days later to the grave discovered on Wednesday.
Adams also declined to comment on Stoltzfoos’ death, saying an autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
Authorities said a surveillance video enhanced by FBI forensic technicians showed a red sedan, the same type of car that the defendant owned and was involved in the kidnapping.
According to the public prosecutor, a DNA profile was found on one of Stoltzfoos’ buried stockings, which is “attributable to Smoker”.
Christopher Tallarico, the county’s chief defender, argued in March that there was no evidence Stoltzfoos ever got into Smoker’s car. In response to Tallarico’s questions, a detective confirmed that her DNA was not found in samples from the car because the restored DNA profiles were insufficient to test her.
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