Human remains found during a search Wednesday are that of the missing Amish teenager who disappeared in Pennsylvania last summer, officials believe.
Linda Stoltzfoos, 18, was last seen walking home from a church service in the Bird-in-Hand area of Lancaster on on June 21 last year.
She never returned home.
In December last year Justo Smoker, 34, was charged with criminal homicide. Officials said then that the suspect’s DNA was discovered on the victim’s stocking, which had been found buried in the woods alongside her bra.
Lancaster County DA Heather Adams said Thursday they now believe Stoltzfoos was killed within hours of her kidnap and initially buried at that location before her body was moved to where it was found Wednesday.
The remains were found buried more than three feet down and wrapped in a tarp behind Dutchland Incorporated, the former workplace of Smoker in a rural area in the eastern part of Lancaster County, she said.
A a dress, bonnet and shoes matching what Linda was last seen in were also found.
Prosecutors noted that Wednesday marked exactly 10 months since Stoltzfoos disappeared.
Speaking about the find, Stoltzfoos’s uncle told Wednesday: ‘I’m still in shock and never ready for news like this.’
The county coroner’s office will now make a formal identification and determine the cause and manner of death, prosecutors said.
Linda Stoltzfoos, 18, was last walking home from church in the Bird-in-Hand area of Lancasteron June 21 last year
Lancaster County DA Heather Adams said Thursday they now believe the remains of missing Stoltzfoos have been found after school group sex fetish family a body was discovered Wednesday
The remains were found buried more than three feet down and wrapped in a tarp behind Dutchland Incorporated, the former workplace of Smoker in a rural area in the eastern part of Lancaster County, the DA said
Justo Smoker, 34, was charged with homicide in December
DA Adams said the surrounding area where the remains were found Wednesday had been already been searched by police.
She did not comment on what led to the discovery Wednesday.
Adams told reporters: ‘While the coroner’s office has not yet made a positive forensic identification, based on all of the information currently known and available to us, we strongly believe and are comfortable saying, that the remains are those of 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos.’
An autopsy is planned for Friday.
Local resident Debbie Matteoda said: ‘For the family I feel terrible because they keep all this hope all this time that maybe she will show up, but then again it’s a closure.’
‘Its sad,’ said Krista Hanna.
‘I hope that the family feels peace a little bit and the search is over and they know now what happened.’
Last month, a county judge ruled that prosecutors had presented enough evidence for a homicide trial against Smoker, 35, of Paradise, in the disappearance of Stoltzfoos.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-e4856f60-a385-11eb-b756-b566fecea597" website found ARE those of missing Amish girl, 18, officials believe