Khyler Edman was a 15-year-old boy who was killed while protecting his 5-year-old sister from an intruder in Port Charlotte, Florida, on September 26, 2019, according to police. Ryan Clayton Cole, 27, has been arrested in relation to the crime.
Edman was in the family home, which is located 100 miles south of Tampa, at 4 p.m. with his sister when “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 in a press conference.
“There is no hero that can amount to Khyler,” family’s spokesperson Crystal Stone told WINK-TV. “He loved his family. He was his sister’s keeper.”
The sheriff’s office said in a press release that that police were called to the scene after receiving reports of an injured man running through the streets of a residential neighborhood in Port Charlotte. There, officers were able to apprehend Ryan Cole, who had stab wounds to his hands.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Have Not Revealed Edman’s Cause of Death
During Cole’s arrest, officers received reports of two burglaries in the area. One of those took place at the Edman’s home, the other at the home of the 911 caller. When police went to Edman’s house, they found the teenager dead. His 5-year-old sister was unharmed. Authorities have not revealed Edman’s exact cause of death.
Cole is the suspect in both of those burglaries. At the time of writing, Cole is facing charges of burglary and petit theft. WWSB reports that further charges are expected in the case.
CBS12 reports that Cole was identified in a photo line-up by a neighbor. Cole is being held in Charlotte County Jail.
2. One of Edman’s Neighbors Is Trying to Set Up ‘Khyler’s Law’ to Keep Habitual Offenders Off of the Streets
A neighbor of Edman’s, Shawn Kolanda, told the Port Charlotte Sun that he was beginning the process of establishing a law named for Khyler Edman. Kolanda said that Khyler’s law would see habitual offenders kept “off the streets.”
Kolanda said, “It shouldn’t take 20 arrests — 15 or 20 arrests — of any kind. They shouldn’t have to commit murder to actually finally end up in jail.” When speaking about Edman specifically, Kolanda said, “No one would say anything bad about him. He’s my angel and hero now. He will be missed.” Kolanda also described Edman as being “very protective of his little sister.”
3. A GoFundMe Page Setup for Edman’s Family Has Raised More Than $30,000
On a GoFundMe page set up to help raise money for Edman’s family, his loved ones wrote that Edman “was only 15 years old and lost his life due to a senseless act of a stranger.” That page has raised more than $30,000. An update to that page read, “This is not going to only give Khyler the burial he deserves this will allow Kyhler’s mom and 5-year-old sister be able to get into another house so they aren’t faced with having to relive the traumatic experience over again.”
In his obituary, Edman is described as being “full of life.” His hobbies are listed as being fishing, going to the beach and bike riding with friends. Edman was an “an avid lover of the outdoors and a forever fan of the Gators.” Edman had been a member of the ROTC program at Charlotte High School.
The tribute goes on to read, “Mostly, he is known for his unselfishness, always putting others before himself. Khyler will always hold the title of an awesome big brother to his siblings, especially his sister. He was kind, caring, loving, and will be missed by many.”
4. Edman’s Stepsister Said He Chose His 5-Year-Old Sister’s Life Over His Own
In addition, a fundraiser for Edman’s family will be held in Harbor Heights part on October 5 at 11 a.m.
At a candlelight vigil outside of his home on September 29, one of Edman’s classmates at Charlotte High School, Sioux Anderson, told NBC2, “I didn’t want to believe it when I first heard about it, I really didn’t. When he protected his sister he became a man that day, not a lot of people would do that.” A memorial service for Edman will be held at the First Alliance Church in Port Charlotte on October 3 at 4:00 p.m.
At that vigil, a woman who referred to herself as Edman’s stepsister said, “He loved that little girl so much, and when he chose her life over his, he became a man,” according to the Port Charlotte Sun. The newspaper also reported that Edman’s classmates had been encouraged to wear blue in honor of the 15-year-old to school on September 30.
5. Ryan Cole Has Been Arrested 5 Times in 2019 Alone
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has said that Cole is known to authorities in the area and has a history of drug use and petty crime. At the time of his September 2019 arrest, Cole was on probation.
WWSB reports that in February 2019, Cole was accused of trespassing and resisting arrest without violence.
In March, Cole was arrested and accused of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. In June, Cole was arrested twice, first for trespassing and resisting arrest and the second time for petit larceny. Cole’s most recent arrest came in August when he was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.