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SPICEWOOD — A young man who brightened the lives of many will be laid to rest July 25.

Stephen Roy Sylvester Jr. died July 17 in Austin. On his Facebook page, friends and acquaintances remembered Sylvester as a loving and caring individual.

Austin homicide investigators have arrested Bryan Canchola, 20, in the former Marble Falls High School student’s death. Police have charged Canchola with murder for allegedly beating the 18-year-old to death during an argument the two had about 4 a.m. that Friday at an apartment in the 500 block of West 26th Street in Austin.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by APD Detective David Fugitt, the two arrived at the apartment they shared with another person and began arguing. Eventually, the argument became violent, the other roommate told police according to the affidavit.

The third roommate was able to intervene and get Sylvester to University Medical Center at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, but the 18-year-old apparently left the hospital before being treated, according to the affidavit. The third roommate returned to the apartment after searching for Sylvester. Upon returning, the man noted that Canchola’s bedroom door was closed. Fearing Sylvester might return to the residence, the third roommate went to a friend’s residence and called 9-1-1 at 5:49 a.m.

Canchola also called 9-1-1 shortly thereafter to report he and Sylvester had been fighting and the 18-year was now unconscious. Austin-Travis County EMS transported Sylvester to University Medical Center Brackenridge Hospital, where he later died.

A Travis County deputy medical examiner ruled Sylvester’s death a homicide.

Police arrested Canchola on July 18 and booked him into the Travis County Jail on a first-degree murder charge. He is being held in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Friends of Sylvester and his family have set up a account to help offset funeral expenses.

A friend on his Facebook page described Sylvester with these words: “His love of animals was undeniable as well as his will to help anyone and everyone. His love for life in general was greater than most.”

Sylvester’s service is at 11 a.m. July 25 at Spicewood Baptist Church, 7903 CR 404. Funeral arrangements are by Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home in Marble Falls. To offer condolences, go to For his full obituary, click here.

3 thoughts on “Family, friends remember 18-year-old homicide victim, ex-MFHS student

  1. Hello, my name is Taylor Shirley and I am the ex boyfriend of Stephen Sylvester who was savagely murdered in Austin, TX by his boyfriend Bryan Canchola on July 17. I am contacting you now because today (August 19, 2015) Bryan has been released from custody as his bail was lowered from $500,000 to $250,000 and his family was able to pay it. Bryan’s family are extremely wealthy and have friends in high places, so I don’t have faith that the judicial system will serve justice in this case. This is where true journalism can change things. I believe in the power of spoken and written word and it would mean the world to Stephen’s family and I if you could write a follow up story about the injustice that was served today and that will likely continue when the trial actually begins. Bryan was released under the conditions that he is bound to a GPS tracker, must attend alcohol counseling, and cannot be left alone, but I don’t believe that is enough. After speaking with his family who attended the trial, they said he showed no emotion or remorse and that he looked bored with the entire thing. This cannot slip by quietly. If he is the type of person that can brutally murder a man he knew for only 8 weeks, who knows who else he might hurt. He is a danger to society and should not be allowed to walk free. #justiceforstephen

    1. Hi Taylor,

      My condolence go out to you and Stephen”s family, as I know how difficult it is to lose a loved one. I personally know Bryan Canchola for 5 years now, we went to middle school and high school together, and I can truly say, Bryan is not the person who you think he is. In all the years Bryan has been in school (as far as I have known him) he has never been in any type of trouble. If anything, Bryan was the one to stay out of trouble because he was afraid of confrontation. Bryan’s family is not extremely wealthy, his family is a middle class family like most of us who know him personally. Regardless if it is a $1million bond or $250,000, I believe any family member would do their best to defend their child and get them out of jail. In all reality, this family could have given their life time savings to have Bryan at home. I understand the circumstances on how anyone would feel that Bryan should serve many years in prison, or maybe even life, and to others death row. However, regardless of the “injustice” we can’t bring back Stephen and I understand how much this hurts. Knowing Bryan personally and from what the news report had to say, one thing led to another and led Bryan to a huge mistake of taking ones life. If Bryan didn’t care or had no sympathy, he wouldn’t have bothered calling the police in his sense of fear. At the end of the day, we can’t always believe what media has to say, but at the end of the day, I can say Bryan did not take Stephens life intentionally. Anger makes you do unwanted decisions, and in this case, it cost them both their lives. One is resting in peace, and the other is living this behind his head every day for the rest of his life. Many blessings to you and Stephens loved ones.


      1. I love how you sugar coated a cold blooded murder with those nice words. Bryan was so remorseful he tried cleaning up Stephen’s blood and moving his dead body. I hope your dear friend gets life in prison. PS: By the way you write it is almost as if you are Bryan himself speaking from the mind? Hmm

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