2 facing charges after discovery of body at brushfire

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Franklin police said they believe a Franklin woman was brutally beaten, and then her body was disposed of in a brush fire in an attempt to hide the crime.

Police said the body, identified as that of 25-year-old Tausha Lee Baker on Saturday, was discovered by Polk Borough firefighters on Water Works Road in Franklin late Friday afternoon.

Police have charged 28-year-old Richard A. Kennedy, of Vandergrift, and 32-year-old Amanda L. Cypher, of Franklin, in the incident.

According to police, firefighters were dispatched to the brush fire just after 5 p.m. on Friday.  After the fire was extinguished, Baker’s body was discovered.

Venango County Coroner Christina Rugh could not confirm the cause of death on Saturday.  She said an autopsy is scheduled Monday at 11 a.m. in Erie.

“It’s a waiting game until we know the exact cause of death,” Rugh said.

The beating, police believe, took place at a residence in the 1300 block of New Street in Franklin, and afterward Baker’s body was taken to Water Works Road and set afire.

Kennedy and Cypher face charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Both were arraigned before District Judge Andrew Fish and remanded to Venango County Jail. Bail was denied.