Teen Accused of Killing Tristyn Bailey Had Evidence in His Home Linking Him to 'Cold-Blooded Murder,’ Cops Say
Aiden Fucci, who was in the eighth grade at Patriot Oaks Academy, where Tristyn Bailey was in the seventh grade, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her killing.
Authorities are now calling 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey’s killing a “cold-blooded murder.” This comes as the medical examiner determined the Florida cheerleader’s death was a homicide, caused by “sharp force trauma by stabbing.”
“This is a cold-blooded murder of a 13-year-old young girl who did not deserve to die,” St. Johns County Sheriff Robb Hardwick told WJXT. “It is horrific. It’s horrible. And the word accident is nowhere involved in this case.”
He added that 14-year-old Aiden Fucci, who was in the eighth grade at Patriot Oaks Academy, where Tristyn was in the seventh grade, is the only suspect in this case. Authorities have not yet released a possible motive in the killing.
“I can just tell you that the man’s a cold-blooded killer,” Hardwick said. “And I hate to even say man. He’s a child, but he committed a man’s crime. And with that being said, of course, I think he is being held responsible for the crime committed.”
Investigators who searched Fucci's home said they found “multiple items of evidentiary value,” a press release said. Clothes that Fucci had been wearing when allegedly he was caught on surveillance footage near the area Tristyn’s body was found tested positive for blood, a police report said, according to WTLV.
In addition to the Snapchat selfie Fucci shared upon his arrest, flashing a peace sign in the back of the squad car with a caption reading, “Hey guys has inybody [anybody] seen Tristyn lately,” additional concerning social media comments have emerged. Investigators said every post will be taken into account as evidence.
“I look at that Snapchat photo just as everybody else does. It is what it is. It’s in the file, part of the case,” Sheriff’s Office Director Howard Cole told WJXT. “These kids have no idea the magnitude of their words and the things they post, and it’s frankly reprehensible."
The heartbroken community in which Tristyn grew up gathered Monday night to mourn the 13-year-old girl, who had originally been reported as a missing person last weekend. Hundreds of residents of St. Johns County gathered at the local community center, many wearing her favorite color, aqua, in her honor.
“I loved Tristyn so much. She’s always been there for me. She’s been one of my closest friends,” Addison Strumlauf, who is on one of Tristyn’s cheer squad, told WJXT.
Tristyn had been on two different cheer squads, and recently won a competition with the Infinity Allstars, which also had a vigil at their gym in her honor.
Her body was discovered Sunday in a remote wooded area by someone living in the area, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
“The community helped us solve this case,” Sheriff Robert Hardwick told reporters in a statement. “We saw moms and families yesterday walking the woodline in clothes like church clothes yesterday. This is how passionate they are about solving the case.”
Fucci was taken into custody Monday night and has since been charged with second-degree murder.
“The school is grieving. This community is grieving. Tristyn is not coming back,’ Hardwick said. “They loved her in school. We have a person charged with her murder.”
The pair grew up in the same neighborhood, but authorities have not yet clarified what their relationship was. “I really don’t care what he did in the school system, whether sports or whether it be music,” Hardwick said.
Fucci appeared in court for the first time Tuesday morning over Zoom for a detention hearing, where Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger ordered he will be held in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice for the next 21 days. It has not been decided whether he will be tried as an adult.
His parents also appeared in the Zoom call.
His lawyer Anwar Snober has not responded to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.
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