PUNTA GORDA — The man implicated in the death of a Port Charlotte teenager appeared Tuesday in Charlotte County court for the first time since the alleged violent encounter.

Ryan Clayton Cole, 27, is charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, petit theft and violation of probation.

The burglary on Conway Boulevard is believed to have occurred shortly after Cole’s alleged encounter with Khyler Edman, 15, who died defending his 5-year-old sister when Cole broke into their home, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

Chris Hinrichs said he first saw Cole sitting on his patio when he was about to take a shower. He put his clothes back on and came out, and this time, he found his sliding glass door was open.

“I’m thinking he’s inside the house somewhere,” he said. “So I went and I go look for him, and I don’t see him, but I can hear him talking to himself.”

He finally found Cole back outside, where he had seen him to begin with. He was kneeling down, struggling to put on a kid-sized boxing glove belonging to Hinrichs’ child. Cole was soaking wet and bleeding from his right hand, with another knife wound on his abdomen, Hinrichs said.

“I said, ‘What are you doing in my house?’” Hinrichs said. “I knew he was inside, because that’s the only way he could have gotten one of my kid’s toys ... He didn’t say anything. And then I said, ‘Well, I’m calling the police.’ He turned and looked at me and said, ‘Please don’t.’ I shut the door and dialed 911.”

Authorities soon arrived and took Cole into custody. Hinrichs identified him from a photo lineup. He said he never saw Cole with any kind of weapon, but the wound on his abdomen opened and closed whenever Cole bent over, and his right hand was bleeding heavily.

“It was coming down his arm,” Hinrichs said. “I think that’s probably another reason why he wanted a glove, to put on not only to conceal but to maybe stop or help the blood flow.”

Hinrichs said he couldn’t tell if Cole was on any kind of drugs, but noted he didn’t seem totally in his right mind.

“He looked like he was in a hurry,” he said. “When I saw him, the first time, he really didn’t look too with it. If he was on something, I’m not 100 percent sure.”

After being treated for his injuries in Lee County, Cole was booked into the Charlotte County Jail Monday. For the burglary and theft charges, Cole’s bond is $105,000, but he has no bond on his probation violation.

No charges have been filed in connection with Edman’s death so far. The State Attorney’s Office has not yet received the full case from law enforcement, according to spokesperson Samantha Syoen.

“We are working closely with our partners in law enforcement on this case,” Syoen said. “We did assist with (the) warrant for his arrest involving a burglary. Once we receive the entire case we will file appropriate charges.”

A Go Fund Me to help Edman’s family has raised more than $52,000 as of Tuesday evening. A celebration of life will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Harbour Heights Civic Center.

Email: anne.easker@yoursun.com


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