Crime

Young College Student Dies From Head Trauma After Fight With Boyfriend

| by Jared Keever

An Texas college student is dead and his 20-year-old boyfriend is in jail after a drunken domestic dispute over an alleged cheating incident turned deadly, police say.

Bryan Michael Canchola, 20, is in custody at the Travis County Jail, awaiting formal murder charges in the death of his boyfriend, 18-year-old Stephen Roy Sylvester, Jr., KVUE News reports. 

(Canchola and Sylvester)

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According to Austin Police Department arrest documents, obtained by KVUE, authorities say the fight broke out in the couple’s apartment in the early hours of Friday morning after the two had been out drinking. 

The two men lived in the apartment with a third roommate who told police he woke up shortly after 4 a.m. to the sounds of screaming and fighting. 

“Why would you cheat on me?” the roommate reportedly told police he heard Canchola yell at Sylvester.

(Bryan Michael Canchola)

He later reportedly heard Sylvester yell, “Let go, I'm trying to leave,” according to arrest documents. The roommate then reportedly heard Sylvester’s dog yelp and Sylvester yell, “Let the dog go.”

(Stephen Roy Sylvester)

The roommate told police he eventually went to the couple’s room and tried to break up the fight. He reportedly said he saw blood splattered on the wall of the room.

The roommate said he retreated to the kitchen area after Canchola grew aggressive toward him. He was soon joined there by Sylvester who was holding the back of his head and had blood running down his neck. Canchola reportedly punched Sylvester in the side of the face as Sylvester and the roommate were preparing to leave the apartment.

The roommate then took Sylvester to University Medical Center Brackenridge but Sylvester left unexpectedly before being treated.

Concerned that Sylvester might have returned to the apartment to try and make amends with Canchola, the roommate dialed 911.

Shortly after that call, Canchola also dialed 911 from the apartment saying Sylvester was bleeding from the back of the head and unconscious, according to police.

Emergency personnel rushed Sylvester back to University Medical Center Brackenridge where he later died. 

Autopsy results indicate he suffered bleeding in his brain, had a fractured neck, and showed signs of having been strangled. 

His dog also showed signs of strangulation, according to KVUE.

Taylor Shirley, an ex-boyfriend of Sylvester’s, told the New York Daily News he found out about the death just hours after it happened. 

“I can’t imagine why somebody would try to hurt him or his dog,” Shirley said, adding that they had stayed in touch after breaking up. 

“Stephen was a very big-hearted and trusting person and so whenever he met people, he trusted them way too easily and I think this was just one of those things,” Shirley added. “He trusted the wrong person and it cost him his life.”

The Daily News reports Sylvester was 19 years old, as did the Daily Mail in its coverage of the story. 

Canchola was last reported being held on $500,000 bond. 

Sources: KVUE News, New York Daily News, Daily Mail

Photo Credit: Daily Mail, APD via KVUE