Arrest made in death of pregnant Amish woman found dead in her Pennsylvania home

Shawn Cranston, 52, is now facing multiple charges.

March 2, 2024, 2:00 PM

Police have announced an arrest in connection to the death of 23-year-old pregnant Rebekah Byler that has shaken an Amish community in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania State Police announced early Saturday morning that Shawn Cranston -- a 52-year-old man from Corry, Pennsylvania -- has been arrested in connection with the murder of the Amish woman and is now facing multiple charges, including criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass.

The criminal complaint for Cranston alleges that he killed her by "shooting her in the head and/or slashing her throat."

Cranston was arraigned Saturday morning and is currently being held without bond at the Crawford County Jail.

On Feb. 26, police responded to a home in Sparta Township, where they found Byler dead, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Byler's cause of death has not been released.

PHOTO: Shawn Cranston mugshot.
Shawn Cranston mugshot.
WJET

Sparta Township is a small township in Crawford County, just outside of the borough of Spartansburg and about 35 miles southeast of Erie, Pennsylvania.

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"Everyone is stunned -- this doesn't happen here," Charleen Hajec, a pharmacist who was born and raised in Spartansburg, told ABC News. "Everyone is talking. It's scary and frustrating."

PHOTO: Amish Woman Killed
This is the home a few miles outside of Spartansburg, Pa., on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, where investigators discovered the body of a pregnant 23-year-old Amish woman on Monday. Pennsylvania State Police are appealing for tips from the public to help solve the crime, a state police spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Hajec said she couldn't believe a murder would happen in Sparta Township, which she called a "tight-knit community."

"The outside world doesn't get in," Hajec said. "To have something this tragic ... it doesn't happen here."

ABC News' Emily Shapiro and Stephanie Ramos contributed to this report.

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