Port Charlotte, FL – A 15-year-old boy was murdered while trying to protect his five-year-old sister from a home intruder on Sept. 26, according to investigators.
Police were called to the Port Charlotte residential area at approximately 4 p.m., after witnesses spotted a man with stab wounds running around the neighborhood, ABC News reported.
When officers located the suspect, later identified as 27-year-old probationer Ryan Clayton Cole, he immediately attempted to flee from them on foot.
Cole was apprehended following a short chase, and was found to have multiple stab wounds on his side and hands, ABC News reported.
As Cole was being transported to a hospital, officers began receiving reports of multiple burglaries in the same area.
The description of the burglary suspect matched that of Cole, and one homeowner identified him in a photo lineup, ABC News reported.
During a canvas of the area, investigators discovered that someone had forced entry into a residence on Starlite Lane, according to Newsweek.
Officers searched the home and stumbled upon the body of 15-year-old Khyler Edman, ABC News reported.
Khyler’s uninjured five-year-old sister was also found inside the residence.
Deputies said that the teen heroically gave up his own life to protect his defenseless sister when the intruder broke into their home, WINK reported.
“A violent encounter ensued where we believe that the teenager was trying to protect the home and protect their younger sibling,” Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said during a press conference, according to Newsweek.
Khyler’s exact cause of death was not released.
“There is no hero that an amount to Khyler,” his family’s spokesperson, Crystal Stone, told WINK. “He loved his family. He was his sister’s keeper.”
Khyler was in the midst of his sophomore year at Charlotte County High School, where he took honors classes and was well-liked by his peers.
“[He] was the kind of kid that anyone would be proud to call their son,” Stone told WINK.
A fundraising campaign has been established to help cover Khyler’s funeral expenses, as well as to help his mother and young sister to “get into another house so they aren’t faced with having to relive the traumatic experience over again,” Stone said.
“Khyler was a hero protecting his sister but please continue to keep her in your prayers as she witnessed this,” she added.
Over $42,500 has been contributed to the fund so far.
According to police, Cole is a known drug user who was on probation at the time of his latest arrest, Newsweek reported.
He has been charged with petit theft and burglary of an occupied dwelling in connection with one of the other break-ins, and may face additional charges after the investigation into Khyler’s death is completed.
“We are working very closely with state attorney’s office so we can provide the best case we can so this individual does not see the light of day again,” Sheriff Prummell said, according to ABC News. “This has been a very tough scene to deal with. It was a senseless crime.”