LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — We’re now hearing from the grieving family of Amish teenager Linda Stoltzfoos after authorities announced Thursday her body has been found. The victim’s family is heartbroken, especially considering the teen’s body was found Wednesday, 10 months to the day she went missing.
“There was just anguish at first, but then it really starts bringing closure,” said Mervin Fisher, Stoltzfoos’ uncle.READ MORE: Residents In Marple Township Get Opportunity To Weigh In on PECO's Plans For Natural Gas Reliability Station
Stoltzfoos’ uncle is still in shock after learning police discovered his niece’s decaying body in a shallow grave.
“Our hearts go out to the family,” Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said.
Adams revealed Thursday the exhaustive 10-month search for the victim’s remains included K-9s, horses, drones, submarines and more than 15,000 man-hours.
“Law enforcement searched extensively for Linda’s body since June of last year,” Adams said.
That’s when prosecutors say the 18-year-old was kidnapped while walking home from church. Thirty-five-year-old Justo Smoker faced charges connected to her homicide even though police had not yet found her body.
That’s now changed. Authorities say they discovered the victim’s remains Wednesday in a rural part of Lancaster County near the same place where the suspect had worked.READ MORE: Wearing Mask May Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms, Researchers Find
“The remains were recovered behind a business in a grave on railroad property and wrapped in a tarp,” Adams said.
Authorities also say security video appears to show the kidnapping.
“That was a huge break,” Adams said.
“There’s security cameras everywhere,” La Salle University Criminal Justice Chair Charles Gallagher said.
Gallagher is not associated with the case but tells Eyewitness News that private security cameras are helping solve crimes more and more, even in rural areas.
“If you drive to a McDonald’s or a Wawa, there is a security camera. When you basically go through a toll, there is a security camera,” Gallagher said.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia School District Welcomes More Students Back With Phase 3 Hybrid Learning Plan
The Lancaster County coroner is set to do an autopsy Friday to explain the cause of death.