Man Arrested In Killing Of 23-Year-Old Pregnant Amish Mother

By Bill Galluccio

March 2, 2024

Shawn Cranston
Photo: Crawford County Jail

Authorities in Pennsylvania have arrested a suspect in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old pregnant Amish woman in Sparta Township.

Shawn Cranston, 52, was taken into custody early Saturday (March 2) morning and charged with criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary, and criminal trespass. He was denied bail and is being held at Crawford County Jail.

Authorities said that Cranston allegedly broke into the home of Rebekah Byler last Monday and killed her by "shooting [her] in the head and/or slashing her throat." Byler's two children, ages two and three, were home when their mother was killed but were not harmed.

Investigators did not say if Cranston and Byler knew each other or if Cranston was a member of the Amish community. No motive for the murder has been uncovered.

The brutal killing shocked the local Amish community.

"Everyone is stunned -- this doesn't happen here," Charleen Hajec told ABC News. "Everyone is talking. It's scary and frustrating."

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