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Man charged with killing Linda Stoltzfoos expected to plead guilty, faces more charges


By Janelle Stelson

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    LANCASTER COUNTY, Pennsylvania (WGAL) — The man accused of abducting and killing a young Amish woman last year in Lancaster County is expected to plead guilty Friday and is now facing more charges.

Justo Smoker was initially charged with kidnapping 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos and later charged with homicide.

The criminal docket now indicates Smoker is also charged with abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and possession of an instrument of crime. It is not clear what charges Smoker plans to plead guilty to.

The Lancaster County district attorney will hold a news conference after Smoker’s scheduled court hearing.

Stoltzfoos’ disappearance in June 2020 captured the Susquehanna Valley’s attention and prompted large searches. She was last seen walking home from church at a farm in Upper Leacock Township.

According to court documents, surveillance video showed Smoker’s car in the area on the day Stoltzfoos vanished.

Prosecutors said DNA samples from Smoker matched DNA samples found on Stoltzfoos bra and stockings. The clothing was found buried in a remote area behind a business in Ronks on the day of Smoker’s arrest.

Investigators recovered Stoltzfoos’ remains in April, ten months to the day of her disappearance. The remains were in a shallow grave on railroad property near Smoker’s workplace.

The coroner said he believed her body was buried there after being moved, and she had probably been killed soon after her disappearance.

An autopsy showed she was strangled, suffocated and had a stab wound to her neck. The cause of death was asphyxia, which is a lack of oxygen.

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