Daughter of arrested suspect reacts to pregnant Amish woman murder case

Warning: Details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

Spartansburg, Pa. (WJET/WFXP) — Five days after a pregnant Amish woman was murdered in her Pennsylvania home, her alleged killer is behind bars.

State police took 52-year-old Shawn C. Cranston, from Corry, Pa., into custody Friday night in connection to the death of 23-year-old Rebekah Byler. He was arrested outside of a Dollar General store on Main Street, right next to his home.

“It was crazy. I’ve never seen so much law enforcement at once. Never once,” said Julie Purpura, Doller General employee.

According to court paperwork, Cranston allegedly broke into Byler’s home on Fish Flats Road in Sparta Township on Monday, Feb. 26, where he shot her in the head and slashed her throat.

As of Saturday, Crime scene tape still surrounds Cranston’s home on Main Street in Corry. NewsNation affiliate WJET’s Jennifer Mobilia spoke with a woman who said Cranston was her foster dad growing up.

That woman is in her 20s now and has children of her own, but she said Cranston is the only father she’s known. She was visibly upset and did not want to be on camera.

“Like I could never picture my dad being that cold-hearted monster. Never in a million years,” daughter of Shawn C. Cranston.

The morning of the murder, neighbors reported seeing a red Jeep in Byler’s driveway. Then on Friday night, a red Jeep was towed from Cranston’s home.

“As far as I know, he just wanted his grandson back,” she added.

Cranston’s daughter believes the murder was a case of mistaken identity. She added the Amish couple who lived in Byler’s home a few years ago adopted Cranston’s grandson.

“Supposedly she started yelling at him, coming in, then that’s when boom, all it took. It’s just horrifying to think that,” she continued.

Cranston has been charged with criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass.

He is currently being held in the Crawford County Jail without bail.

The full criminal complaint in this case can be read below:


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