A Florida teen tragically died while protecting his 5-year-old sister from an alleged burglar who had broken into the family’s home.
Khyler Edman, 15, was found dead by deputies in his Port Charlotte home Thursday after he allegedly had a “violent encounter” with a man — later identified as Ryan Clayton Cole — who is accused of forcing his way into the home.
“The suspect broke into this residence a violent encounter ensued where we believe that teenager was trying to protect the home and protect their younger sibling,” Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said, according to local station WFTS.
Investigators went to the scene Thursday after receiving calls that there was an injured man “running through the neighborhood” in Port Charlotte. Officers arrived around 4 p.m. and spotted the male, who fled on foot behind another home, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
Cole then allegedly broke into another home. That resident called 911 to report the break-in, and deputies were able to take Cole into custody after a “short foot pursuit.” That resident was later able to positively identify Cole as the man who broke into the home.
Cole was taken to the hospital for what Prummell described as “several stab wounds to his hands and side.”
Deputies began to canvass the area and found that another home in the neighborhood had been broken into. Inside, they found Edman dead and his 5-year-old sister unharmed.
Deputies believe Cole — who has a long criminal record — was injured in what authorities have only described as a “violent encounter” with the teen, WBBH-TV reports.
The victim’s family has asked for privacy as they grieve the devastating loss. A GoFundMe has been set up in his honor, according to the sheriff's office: You can donate here.
"On September 26th Khyler lost his life being a hero protecting his 5 year old sister, when a man broke in our home in Port Charlotte. Please help my family at this time give Khyler a proper burial he deserves, he was only 15 years old and lost his life due to a senseless act of a stranger. My son had a long life ahead of him, that was taken too soon," the GoFundMe reads.
Cole has currently been charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and petit theft; however, additional charges are possible as the investigation continues.
He’s been arrested at least 20 other times, primarily for minor offenses including drug charges, theft, violation of probation and burglary, WFTX-TV reports.
He had reportedly been out on probation at the time of the teen’s death Thursday.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.