A 15-year old-boy died while protecting his little sister from a burglar in Port Charlotte, Florida last Thursday. When police entered the grisly scene, they found the five-year-old girl alive, but her brother, Khyler Edman, was dead.
“A violent encounter had ensued, and the teenager succumbed to [his] injuries,” Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said at a news conference. “This has been a very tough scene to deal with. It was a senseless crime.”
How It Happened
Authorities received reports of a suspicious person roaming the neighborhood and came to investigate. Once in the area, they received a 911 call about a potential burglar who was bleeding. The suspect attempted to flee, but officers were able to track down and arrest the man, who was later identified as Ryan Clayton Cole, 27. Police stated he had stabbing injuries but did not specify where they came from.
It was after this, while searching to see if other homes had been burglarized, that authorities discovered the two children.
“We believe the teenager was trying to protect the home and protect [his] younger sibling,” Prummell said at a news conference.
While it has not been confirmed that Khyler stabbed Cole, the police are offering no other explanation for how the older man was injured. However, news outlets are reporting that Khyler, who was in the 10th grade at Charlotte High School, was also in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program.
According to the US Department of Defense, “The JROTC curriculum emphasizes citizenship, character development, leadership development and community service. Education classes introduce cadets to the elements of leadership, drill instruction and ceremonies, military customs, uniform inspections, physical fitness training, marksmanship and military history.” That said, it’s unclear if Khyler had any self-defense training or if he instinctively defended his little sister on his own.
“He was the kind of kid you would want to be your son,” Mike Riley, the school and community liaison for Charlotte County Public Schools, told CNN. “He was polite to everyone. He laid his life down to save his baby sister and showed his community how much of a hero he was.”
“There is no hero that can amount to Khyler,” Crystal Stone, who is representing Khyler’s family, told WINK. “He loved his family. He was his sister’s keeper.”
Sheriff Prummell stated that Cole was already known to local law enforcement. He has a history of drug abuse and had been arrested more than 20 times. He is currently being held without bond for violating parole but has not yet been charged in connection with Khyler’s death.
“We are working very closely with the state attorney’s office to make sure we provide the best case we can so this individual does not see the light of day again,” said Prummell.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover Khyler’s funeral expenses. They have asked for $25,000 and as of this writing have raised more than $76,000.