Police Find Human Remains During Search For Missing 18-Year-Old Amish Girl

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Police found human remains while searching for a missing Amish teenager in Pennsylvania who has been missing since June 2020, numerous sources reported.

Multiple local and federal law enforcement agencies were working together to discover what happened to 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos in Lancaster County. The investigators say they found human remains Wednesday during their search, according to 6 ABC.

Police say there was no evidence suggesting the teen was planning on leaving her community at the time of her disappearance, and she left no note indicating she would be traveling anywhere, Philly Voice reported.

The human remains were found on the 10-month anniversary of her disappearance. The scene where the remains were found will be forensically analyzed before being sent to a medical examiner for official identification, according to Philly Voice.

Stoltzfoos was last seen June 21 while returning home from a church group meeting for youths.

Weeks after her disappearance, Justo Smoker, 35, was arrested after police were informed by witnesses that they had seen a red car in the area on the day that Stoltzfoos went missing, Philly Voice reported.

Investigators linked Smoker to the location using cell phone tracking data, according to Philly Voice. He was initially charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor, then later, criminal homicide. (RELATED: Remains Of Girl Missing For More Than 7 Years Found)

“Prosecutors alleged that the passing of time, along with the complete cessation of all routine activities led to the inevitable conclusion that Linda was deceased and that Smoker caused her death,” the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said, according to 6 ABC.

Investigators also found video evidence and cell phone location data that showed Smoker was in remote areas of the mountains in eastern Lancaster County hours after the teenager disappeared, Philly Voice reported.

Smoker has been held at Lancaster County Prison without bail. 

The Amish community in Lancaster County is the nation’s oldest Amish settlement, and thousands of Amish people live in the area, according to Discover Lancaster. Lancaster is located roughly 40 miles southeast of Harrisburg.  (RELATED: Amish Man Turned Away From Gun Dealer)