Who is the pregnant Amish mom found murdered in Pennsylvania?

Who is the pregnant Amish mom found murdered in Pennsylvania?

This article contains graphic descriptions of murder. Please read with caution.

In Feb. 2024, 23-year-old Rebekah A. Byler was found dead in her home in Sparta Township, a Pennsylvania Amish community that had not seen a murder for thirty years. Two other children were unharmed inside the house, and about a week later, a man was arrested in connection with Byler’s death.

According to the Associated Press, Byler’s husband, Andy Byler, returned home around noon and found the lifeless body of his wife, who had been brutally murdered while six months pregnant. A friend of the couple called the police, and Rebekah and Andy’s unborn child did not survive the attack.

Early on, Pennsylvania police said that they had no suspects and no known motive in the homicide, but they would follow up on any leads they received. Referring to Rebekah’s death, Charleen Hajec, a resident of nearby Spartansburg, told ABC 6, “This is very shocking. We’re just a very tight-knit community, and I’m just absolutely heartbroken that this has happened, and I’m very, very concerned about the Amish community and worried for them.”

The jeep spotted in Byler’s driveway

CBS Pittsburgh/YouTube

While investigating Rebekah Byler’s death, Pennsylvania police learned that neighbors spotted a jeep in Byler’s driveway on the day she died, YourErie.com reported. This tip led the authorities to the home of 52-year-old Shawn Cranston, who lived only 10 miles away from Byler’s house, in Corry, Pennsylvania. Cranston’s jeep was also taken into custody.

Cranston’s foster daughter, who remained unnamed in the press, said it may have been a case of mistaken identity. The former occupants of the Byler home had adopted one of Cranston’s grandchildren, and Cranston may have broken in to take the child back, not realizing they no longer lived there, she said. “Supposedly [Rebekah] started yelling at him, coming in, then that’s when boom, all it took. It’s just horrifying to think that … As far as I know, he just wanted his grandson back,” she added.

At the time of this writing, Rebekah’s murder investigation was ongoing, but police documents revealed her throat was cut, she had been shot, and she had a “scalping type wound” on her head. To date, Cranston has been charged with homicide, homicide of an unborn child, burglary, and criminal trespass, and is being held without bond. Cranston, who has no known connection to the Amish community, was expected to appear in court on March 15, 2024. GoErie.com said.

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