Man arrested in killing of pregnant Amish mother in Pennsylvania

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A man has been arrested on murder charges in the death of a pregnant Amish woman in her Pennsylvania home on Monday, according to police. 

Cranston has been charged with criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass, Pennsylvania State Police announced Saturday morning after what they said was an “exhaustive five-day investigation.”

Cranston was arraigned just before 4:30 a.m. Saturday. He is currently being held without bail at the Crawford County Jail.

A mugshot of Shawn Cranston, left, who has been arrested for murder, and the home where the crime took place, right

Shawn Cranston, left, from Pennsylvania, has been charged with killing 23-year-old Rebekah Byler who was about six months pregnant at the time of her death. Byler’s home, right. (Crawford County Jail, left, TIM HAHN/ERIE TIMES-NEWS/USA TODAY NETWORK, right)

PREGNANT AMISH WOMAN KILLED IN PENNSYLVANIA HOME HAD CUTS TO HEAD, NECK: REPORT

Police did not say what type of relationship Cranston and Byler had, if any, prior to her death. The Daily Mail reports Cranston is married to a nurse named Jamie, 46. It is also not known if he is a member of the Amish community.

Bylers’ children – aged 2 and 3 – were in the home when their mother was killed and were not harmed, Pennsylvania State Trooper Cynthia Schick said.

Police were first called to the Byler family residence on Fish Flats Road in Sparta Township, Crawford County, Monday at around 12:26 p.m. after Rebekah’s husband, Andy, and another person returned to the home and found her unresponsive.

Rebekah was found with fatal wounds to her head and neck. Law enforcement has not released a cause of death, although the Daily Mail reports she was shot.

An Amish carriage in Spartanburg, Pennsylvania

An Amish carriage passes the Dutch Treat restaurant in Spartansburg, Pa., on Feb. 29, 2024. A man has been arrested on murder charges in connection with the death of a pregnant Amish woman in her Pennsylvania home on Monday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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After arriving, police cleared the residence and later received a search warrant for the residence, outbuildings and surrounding area of the property based on the evidence.

Police are asking the public to report any suspicious persons, vehicles, or activity in the area of Fish Flats Road.

The slaying shocked the rural northwestern Pennsylvania community. Residents say the Amish, known for their plain dress and restricted use of technology, get along well with their non-Amish neighbors, The Associated Press reported.

A sign of support in Pennsylvania after an Amish mother was killed there this week

A sign on the sidewalk outside an antique store in Spartansburg, Pa., on Feb. 29, 2024.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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“It’s not something that happens around here,” Lindsey Smith, president of the women’s auxiliary of the nearby Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department, said earlier this week.

There are about 400,000 Amish living across settlements in 32 states, Canada and Bolivia – Pennsylvania has one of the highest concentrations of the Mennonite sect, according to the news agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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