Last updated: September 26. 2013 11:45PM - 4691 Views
PAMELA LEHMAN The Morning Call

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EASTON — Four days after a 28-year-old woman was found shot to death in the West Ward, Easton authorities identified her and said she is linked to the drug trade, though they would not comment on a motive.

Authorities said Thursday they had no current address for Amanda Stratford, but online searches link the victim of Sunday’s homicide to the Wilkes-Barre area, where she lived for several years.

Easton police Lt. Matthew Gerould would not comment on a motive in the slaying, nor say if authorities have any suspects in custody, but said she likely knew her killer or killers. He said investigators were releasing Stratford’s street nickname, “Money,” in hopes that anyone who knew her may come forward with information.

Stratford was involved in drug trade “in and around” Easton and other areas, Gerould said, and would not say if Stratford was living in the Easton area.

Stratford’s mother, Elaine Smith of Nanticoke, said Thursday she didn’t yet know exactly what had happened to her daughter and was awaiting word from investigators. Other family members could not be reached for comment.

According to public records, Stratford lived at one time in Wilkes-Barre. Court records show that Stratford, who had also used the name Amanda Frey, had been convicted of several drug offenses in Luzerne County in 2006 and 2004.

Stratford died from multiple gunshot wounds and her death has been ruled a homicide, said Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek.

Easton police said Stratford was found around 11:30 p.m. in the driver’s seat of the truck parked on South Peach Street, an alley. Police would not say how many times Stratford had been shot.

Before finding Stratford’s body, police said, they received reports of gunshots in the area.

Police have identified a man who they said allowed Stratford to borrow his pickup truck on Sunday. Joseph Edward Knox, 24, was taken into custody near where the truck was found, Gerould said.

Knox, of Allentown, was wanted by Wind Gap police on charges of theft and criminal trespass charges, according to court records.

Knox violated his probation in February by failing to remain drug free, failing to report as directed and failing to submit to random urine screens for drugs, according to Northampton County Court records.

Gerould said Thursday he would not comment on Knox’s connection to the investigation.

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