Khyler Edman, a 15-year-old Florida boy who police say fought to the death to protect his 5-year-old sister during a home invasion, is now being hailed a hero by family while hundreds continued to donate thousands of dollars to help with the cost of his burial.
Charlotte County Police said in a news release that at about 4 p.m. on Sept. 26, they got reports of an injured white male walking in the streets. As they responded to the call, another report was made of an unidentified male trying to enter a home. The injured man who attempted to elude police was identified as Ryan Clayton Cole, 27, after he was caught. It was quickly noticed that Cole was suffering from several stab wounds on his hand and side and was rushed to a hospital for medical treatment.
While canvassing the neighborhood where Cole was found, police later discovered that another burglary had happened at a home where the teenager was found dead.
“A deceased juvenile was located in that home. An additional juvenile was located in the residence, uninjured. It is believed that Cole received his injuries inside the same residence during a violent encounter,” the release said.
At a news conference on Friday, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell called Khyler’s death “a senseless crime.”
Cole has been charged with Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling and Petit Theft while Khyler’s death was being investigated for additional charges.
A GoFundMe campaign set up to raise money for Khyler’s funeral quickly exceeded a $25,000 goal and was more than $81,100 on Thursday afternoon.
Crystal Stone, one of the campaign’s organizers, revealed that Khyler’s sister witnessed his violent death and the family is hoping to raise enough funds to move to a new house.
“I want to take a minute and thank everyone that is supporting this family. I'm beyond words right now. I also wanted to let everyone know we have not changed the goal amount. When the original goal amount is set and contributions continue to come in, GoFundMe automatically moves the goal up to additional amount itself," Stone said.
"This is not going to only give Khyler the burial he deserves, this will allow Khyler’s mom and 5-year-old sister [to] be able to get into another house so they aren’t faced with having to relive the traumatic experience over again," she added. "It will also help to make sure justice is served in the justice system. Khyler was a hero protecting his sister but please continue to keep her in your prayers as she witnessed this.”