Web Stories Sunday, April 21

A pregnant Amish mom of two who was murdered in her home was found by her husband lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut — and she had appeared to be scalped, according to court documents.

Shawn Cranston, 52, was arrested Saturday in the grisly murder of Rebekah Byler, 23, in her isolated farmhouse late last month. A motive is unclear.

The victim’s husband, Andy, and a family friend found her “laying on her back in a pool of blood in the living room of the residence,” according to an affidavit of probable cause cited by NBC News.

Rebekah Byler, 23, the pregnant Amish mom of two who was killed inside her home, was found with a “scalping type wound to her head.” TIM HAHN/ERIE TIMES-NEWS / USA TODAY NETWORK
Shawn Cranston, 52, of Corry, Pa., has been arrested in connection with the murder of 23-year-old Amish woman Rebekah Byler and her unborn child. Crawford County Correctional Facility

Her throat was cut and responding police found “a scalping type wound to her head,” the court document states.

The mom, who was six months pregnant, had also been shot, it was previously reported.

Byler’s two children, ages 2 and 3, were in the house when her body was discovered but they were not harmed in the gruesome attack, authorities said.

Pennsylvania State Police searched a residence on Fish Flats Road in Sparta Township, Crawford County, in their investigation into the grisly homicide.. TIM HAHN/ERIE TIMES-NEWS / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cranston has been charged with criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass. He was being held without bond at the Crawford County Jail.

The truck driver was accused of “shooting [Byler] in the head and/or slashing her throat,” according to a criminal complaint cited by NBC.

Rebekah Byler’s isolated farmhouse in Sparta Township, Pennsylvania, where her body was found Feb. 26. ABC

A woman who identified herself as the suspect’s foster daughter said she believes the killing was a case of mistaken identity.

“Like I could never picture my dad being that cold-hearted monster. Never in a million years,” the woman in her 20s, who did not want to be named, told JET24/FOX 66.

The family who lived in the Byler home a few years earlier had adopted Cranston’s grandson and he wanted him back, she said.

“Supposedly she started yelling at him, coming in, then that’s when boom, all it took,” the woman told the outlet. “It’s just horrifying to think that … As far as I know, he just wanted his grandson back.”

A sign on the sidewalk outside an antique store in Spartansburg, Pa. AP

The Pennsylvania State Police arrested Cranston outside a Dollar General store next to his home.

Charleen Hajec, a resident of nearby Spartansburg, said the killing was “very shocking” to the local community.

“We’re just a very tight-knit community and I’m just absolutely heartbroken that this has happened,” she said.

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