A 15-year-old from Florida is being hailed as a hero after he died protecting his five-year-old sister during a home invasion.
Khyler Edman and his younger sister were at their family home in Port Charlotte, Florida, last Thursday (local time) when a burglar broke in. The man, who has since been identified as 27-year-old Ryan Cole, reportedly attacked Khyler as he attempted to defend his sibling.
"The suspect broke into this residence and a violent encounter ensued... we believe the teenager was trying to protect the home and his younger sibling," Charlotte County sheriff Bill Prummell told local outlet WPTV.
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Police said Cole received multiple stab wounds during his fight with the teenager and eventually fled the scene. He was later apprehended while trying to burgle a different property.
During a search of the area, police noticed the front door of the Edman's home had been forced open. They found Khyler's body as well as his sister, who was unharmed in the attack.
A spokesperson for the Edman family, Crystal Stone, told WINK-TV that "no hero can amount to Khyler", calling the teen "his sister's keeper".
The 15-year-old, who was a student at Charlotte County High School, has been remembered by his peers and teachers as a well-liked, high-achieving pupil.
The family's neighbour, Shawn K, told CBS News Khyler was "a gentle soul".
Cole has reportedly been arrested multiple times this year and is currently being held in Lee County Jail on burglary charges, CBS reports. It is not yet certain if he will face further charges.
A GoFundMe page has been established to fundraise for Khyler's funeral costs and a new home for the Edman family. The page has raised more than US$67,900 (NZ$108,568) since it was published on Sunday (local time), far surpassing its initial target of US$25,000 (NZ$39,973).
"He was only 15 years old and lost his life due to a senseless act of a stranger," says the GoFundMe page.
"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."
The Edman family and their friends have planned a 'Celebration of Life' ceremony for October 5 (local time) to help the fundraising effort.
Stone revealed in a new update to the GoFundMe page that the family is planning to campaign for "Khyler's Law". What the law will entail is so far undisclosed.