Lancaster Coroner confirms identity of human remains believed to be Linda Stoltzfoos

State News

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — On Friday, the Lancaster County Coroner confirmed the identity of the human remains believed to be missing Amish teenager Linda Stoltzfoos.

Investigators confirmed the remains to be those of Stoltzfoos by matching evidence with prior dental records.

Stoltzfoos’s death was also confirmed to be a homicide. Investigators say a stab wound to her neck was a contributing factor but Stoltzfoos ultimately died of asphyxiation due to strangulation.

On Thursday, Lancaster District Attorney Heather Adams announced that remains were found Wednesday, matching the description of Stoltzfoos.

At the time, a forensic examination had not yet been complete, but officials said they “strongly believe” the remains would be identified as Stoltzfoos’ body. The autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

Adams believes that Stoltzfoos was killed within hours of her disappearance.

On Wednesday, members of the FBI, East Lampeter Township Police and Pennsylvania State Police announced they recovered human remains, a possible development in the Linda Stoltzfoos investigation.

The 18-year-old Amish teen went missing approximately ten months ago, on June 21, 2020.

The Lancaster County Coroner has been called to the scene in the rural area of eastern Lancaster County, but it has not been confirmed as to whether or not the human remains have been officially identified as Stoltzfoos.

“The scene will be forensically processed, and the remains will then be released to the Lancaster County Coroner for official identification and determination of cause and manner of death,” the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said in a release.

According to the DA’s office, Justo Smoker stands charged with one count of criminal homicide relating to the death of Stoltzfoos and is incarcerated at Lancaster County Prison awaiting trial. 

This most recent development comes after a ten-month search, consisting of over 15,000 hours, following Stoltzfoos’ disappearance. She was kidnapped on Beechdale Road in Bird-in-Hand, East Lampeter Township while walking home from church.

The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office is working closely with the members of the recovery team and will provide more updates to the public at a later time. 

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