Amish Teenager In Pennsylvania Found Dead After Abduction Caught On Surveillance Video

“I robbed the family of time and memories,” the killer told Linda Stoltzfoos’ loved ones at his sentencing.

18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos, pictured here, went missing on June 21, 2020. Her remains were found in April 2021.

A teenager went missing one summer day in Pennsylvania and was later found strangled and stabbed to death, a crime that shocked the Amish community.

Photo by: East Lampeter Township Police

East Lampeter Township Police

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A teenager went missing one summer day in Pennsylvania and was later found strangled and stabbed to death, a crime that shocked the Amish community.

On June 21, 2020, Linda Stoltzfoos, 18, attended church and then began making her way to her Bird-in-Hand home so she could change her clothes for a youth group meeting she was planning to attend, People reported.

After she disappeared, witnesses recalled seeing the teenager riding in the passenger side seat of a red vehicle. Police were also able to obtain surveillance video that showed Stoltzfoos’ abduction, which occurred less than half a mile from her house, and a red Kia Rio with a distinct sticker located on the vehicle’s trunk.

Detectives were able to connect the Kia Rio with a suspect, Justo Smoker, then 35, and they charged him with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor false imprisonment.

The charges were upgraded in December 2020 to include murder.

In April 2021, Stoltzfoos’ remains were found in a grave near railroad tracks behind Smoker’s former place of employment in rural Lancaster County. An autopsy determined she had been strangled, suffocated and stabbed in the neck, the Associated Press reported.

The suspect was also accused of sexually assaulting the victim, an allegation he denied, according to WFTV.

The assistant Lancaster County district attorney said Smoker “approached Linda from behind and choked her with his arm under her neck, and then with shoelaces until she was no longer breathing.”

The prosecutor added: “He then stabbed Linda in the neck one time to ensure that she was dead.”

Investigators matched Smoker’s DNA with that recovered from the victim’s undergarments, which were found at a location where the defendant first buried the victim before he moved and reburied her, prosecutors said.

Smoker initially denied he had anything to do with the crime. However, in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table, he accepted a plea deal and admitted guilt to third-degree murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and possession of an instrument of crime, WFTV reported.

A judge sentenced Smoker in July 2021 to serve 35.5 to 71 years behind bars.

During his sentencing hearing, Smoker apologized to his family as well as the victim’s loved ones.

“I thought I would know what to say, but what words can I say other than I am sorry: to Linda’s family, the community and my supporters,” Smoker said, Lancaster Online reported.

“I robbed the family of time and memories,” he continued, before addressing his father, brother and other relatives.

“I was raised better than this,” he said. “I am better than this ... I was loved better than this. I am sorry.”

Samuel Blank, who represented the Stoltzfoos family and the Amish community at the hearing, told Smoker that both “can and will forgive you.”

Next Up

'Zombie Hunter' Sentenced To Death For Murdering Two Women In The 1990s

A man who referred to himself as the ‘Zombie Hunter’ has been sentenced to death for the separate murders of two young women in the 1990s.

Man Convicted In 1981 Cold Case Murder Of Woman Strangled To Death With Her Own Pantyhose

More than 40 years after the murder of 30-year-old Sonia Carmen Herok-Stone, DNA from under her fingernail led to the conviction of Michael Scott Glazebrook.

DNA From Under Victim’s Fingernails Leads To Arrest Of Las Vegas Murderer After 42 Years

The case of who murdered 25-year-old Sandra DiFelice went cold for over four decades until her daughter urged police to take another look at the case in 2021.

Teenager Found Dead After She Vanished While Out With Friends At Denver Nightclub

The man who killed Kenia Monge admitted he had become a “monster” and his actions were “horrible and cowardly.”

Man Arrested After Tech CEO Found Murdered In Her Baltimore Apartment

Pava LaPere, a rising tech star in her twenties, was murdered in her Baltimore home. After a few days on the run, Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, was arrested and charged with her murder.

DNA From Coffee Cup Solves 1975 Cold Case Murder Of 19-Year-Old Lindy Sue Biechler

In July 2022, one of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania’s oldest cold cases was solved when David Sinopoli, 68, was arrested for the brutal murder of Lindy Sue Biechler.

Brandon Teena’s Legacy And The Devastating Hate Crime That Took His Life

After 21-year-old Brandon Teena reported being raped by two men, the rapists broke into the home he lived in and murdered him and two others.

DNA Helps Solve The 1984 Cold Case Murder Of Donna Macho

New Jersey teen Donna Macho was brutally attacked and murdered in 1984, and after nearly three decades, her killer was positively identified.

After 37 Years, The Cold Case Murder Of Florida Nurse Teresa Lee Scalf Is Finally Solved

After nearly four decades, blood found at the 1986 murder scene has helped investigators positively identify Teresa Lee Scalf's killer.

Man Convicted Of 1993 Cold Case Murder Of Woman Stabbed 65 Times In Her Minnesota Apartment

The victim, Jeanie Childs, “was a wonderful person” who “had a big heart,” her mother said after the verdict.