Pregnant 23-Year-Old Amish Woman Found Dead At Home – Police Investigating As Murder (Updated)

Hate to have to share this awful news, but a shocking story has emerged in northwest Pennsylvania. A 23-year-old Amish woman named Rebekah Byler was found dead at home yesterday, in what police are presuming is a homicide.

From fox8.com:

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Penn. (WJET) – A murder investigation is underway at an Amish home in Crawford County, and Monday night state police asked for the public’s help finding a suspect.

State police said they were called to a home in the 21000 block of Fish Flats Road at 12:31 p.m. Monday.

Neighbors told FOX 8’s sister station, WJET, that a young Amish couple lives in the home. According to investigators, the victim was in her early 20s and her two young children were in the home when the body was discovered.

The Byler home. Image: Fox 66

Neighbors said the victim’s husband came home around noon and found the body. Family members said the victim was six months pregnant.

State police have not released how the young mother died, but said the case is considered a homicide investigation.

Crawford County is home to seven distinct Amish settlements. This incident appears to have happened in the largest, in the Spartansburg area

Thankfully, the children in the home were unharmed. It sounds like there is also a potential lead:

Family members said a red Jeep had been seen in the victim’s driveway around 10 a.m. Monday morning. That Jeep was also spotted driving up and down the road.

State police are asking anyone who may have been in the area between 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Monday, and who may have seen a suspicious vehicle to give them a call.

Image: Fox 66

The phone number to call is 814-663-2043. This is especially shocking in that violent crimes like homicide are not common in Amish communities.

The most recent case that comes to mind is the 2020 disappearance and death of Linda Stoltzfoos, a young Amish woman living in Lancaster County. In that case the perpetrator was eventually caught and brought to justice.

We can only hope the same outcome happens here, and quickly, so that no other community members find themselves in danger. Prayers for this family and community.

 

Update #1

Jet24/Fox 66/yourerie.com has done a follow-up with comments from non-Amish residents showing a lot of concern for the Amish community:

“Buncha good people everyone seems to get along with them. Everyone is just stunned. Nobody could even imagine that this kind of stuff is going on,” said Randy Eaton, Spartansburg-area resident.

One business owner said when tragedy strikes the Amish community, it impacts everyone in Spartansburg.

Image: Jet 24

“We’re just a very tight-knit community and I’m absolutely heartbroken that this has happened. I’m very very concerned about the Amish community I’m worried for them,” said Charleen Hajec, owner of Spartansburg Pharmacy.

“It’s definitely shameful that anything like this could go on here. There’s not a person who’s not concerned. Everyone everyone is surprised,” Eaton said.

The Amish community has been described as “in shock”.

Update #2 – Gunshot Wounds

I didn’t see this in the reporting I looked at at the time, but one reporter is saying that Rebekah Byler suffered gunshot wounds. This is Jennifer Borasso of KDKA News (CBS Pittsburgh):

From the tweet if you can’t see it for some reason:

Jennifer Borrasso
@JenBorrasso
CRIMINAL HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION Pregnant amish woman,23,found dead inside her home(25 miles southeast of Erie,Pa) Mon.Her two kids were not harmed state police tell me.She suffered gun shot wounds.Police have not identified any suspects or made any arrests.Autopsy pending.
@KDKA

That would of course explain why police are treating this as a homicide investigation.

Update #3 – GoFundMe

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up on behalf of Rebekah’s husband Andy Byler and their children. If you’d prefer to mail a check directly, the GoFundMe organizer has provided that option as well, in the second paragraph below:

We are collecting money for Rebekah’s husband Andy and their two children. Rebekah was only 23 years old and 6 months pregnant when was brutally murdered in her home on Monday, February 26, 2024. Her two children were home at the time. We would like to show our support for the entire Amish community and help raise funds so that Andy and his children can find a safe new home. This is the only gofundme- it is being run by myself, Kelsey Bova, on behalf of Andy. I have known both Rebekah’s and Andy’s parents for at least 10 years through my family’s business.

If you would like to mail a check instead, please make it out to Andy Byler and mail to Bova’s Hardware PO Box 207 Spartansburg, PA 16434-0207. Thank you! We appreciate all of your support during this difficult time.

Update #4 – Cutting Wounds

It’s now being reported that Rebekah Byler had “cutting wounds” on her neck and head, information contained in search warrant filings. Via the Associated Press:

Search warrant filings for the Pennsylvania home where a pregnant Amish woman was killed this week said she appeared to have suffered cutting wounds to her neck and head.

Two identical search warrants were issued at the request of state police regarding the Monday slaying of Rebekah A. Byler, 23. Her body was found in the living room of her home a few miles from Spartansburg.

The warrant applications regarding the home and outbuildings that were submitted by an investigator, Trooper Adam Black, said the victim’s husband, Andy Byler, found her body “a short distance inside” the home shortly after noon.

Black wrote that a woman, previously described by police as a family friend, called 911 at 12:36 p.m. to report that she and Andy Byler found Rebekah Byler unresponsive when they arrived.

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    10 Comments

    1. mike

      heartbreaking

      This is heartbreaking news…

      Prayers and smoke up for the family and community.
      May the perpetrator find EARTHLY justice!!!
      SOON and without mercy!

    2. john

      Amish Death

      I was sad reading the story about the death of the Amish mother. It is a sad testimony to the world to how we do not enjoy life. We as Americans do not enjoy life with all the road rage killing just because somebody cut somebody off in a car. In the City of Detroit a 12 year old girl was shot in the head as she laid on her couch in her home because a group of young men had a problem with somebody in the house and fired 23 shots into the house as revenge and hit the girls in the head and they recently took her off life support and she passed away. The problem is to look at society and the music, the movies and videos and the killing or talk about killing. More than likely the husband will forgive the person who killed his wife and her baby as we are instructed to do in the Bible but it is hard to forget

    3. kim

      Amish

      Sad indeed. If your not safe in the country your not safe anywhere in the USA. The world is getting crazier and crazier.

    4. K.D.

      Pregnant Amish woman

      Sadly, society is devolving not evolving. People just don’t
      care anymore. If you have something someone wants, they’ll
      go to any length to get it. There’s no respect, even for a young
      pregnant woman. Sure hope her children didn’t witness this terrible
      tragedy.

      1. Erik Wesner

        It’s hard to imagine what could put someone in the frame of mind to be able to do something like that. That said, I do wonder if drugs were involved in some way.

    5. Horrible

      Erik, thanks for keeping us abreast of the news, even when it’s shocking. My question, “What did the two children see at the time of the suspected homicide?” And, how are they coping?

      1. Erik Wesner

        Well I am going to guess just based on her age that they can’t be too much older than two or three years old. I hope they didn’t see anything for their sake.

    6. Carol

      Prayers

      Such tragic news, a death so unexpected, horrific, heart-wrenching. Dear Lord please bring Your peace and comfort to this family, the community. Praying also that the person or persons responsible for the death of these two people will be found and brought to justice quickly. In Jesus name. Amen

    7. kim

      National news

      I notice this story made the national news in the states.