A 15-year-old boy lost his life protecting his younger sister during a break-in, officials and family members said.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said that it received a call around 4 p.m. on Sept. 26 about an injured male running through a Port Charlotte neighborhood. That male was captured and identified as Ryan Clayton Cole, 27. Cole had several stab wounds and was taken to a nearby hospital.
An investigation found that Cole had entered two houses to burglarize them. Inside one, he encountered Khyler Edman, the teen.
Edman was found dead in the house along with a young child, who was not injured.
“It appears that the suspect had broken into this residence, a violent encounter ensued where we believe that the teenager was trying to protect their home and protect their younger sibling,” Sheriff Bill Prummell said at a press conference. “A violent encounter ensued and the teenager had succumbed to their injuries.”
Edman was identified as the victim on Monday by law enforcement. The family released a picture of the boy.
According to a fundraiser organized by Edman’s family, the boy “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. I have given Crystal Stone and Chad Ackermann permission to help my family at this time,” the boy’s mother said in a statement published on a GoFundMe page.
Cole was charged with burglary but additional charges were expected to be filed. Sheriff Prummell said that it was a “senseless crime” and that his office was working with the State Attorney’s Office to build the best case against Cole “so this individual does not see the light of day again.”
Sheriff Prummell said that Cole has “a history of drug use,” was known to deputies, and was on probation when he was arrested.
According to WINK News, Cole was first arrested in 2011 at age 19 and has since been arrested 20 additional times.
He was arrested in August on disturbing the peace and resisting an officer without violence charges after an employee at a Circle K called the authorities and said Cole was shouting and trying to brawl with customers.
He was found guilty and sentenced to probation.
Cole served time in jail in 2014 and 2015 after convictions for battery, theft, and trespassing and had been in and out of jail five times this year already.