Teen Accused Of Killing 13-Year-Old Tristyn Bailey To Be Tried As Adult After Cause Of Death Revealed

Photo: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office & Facebook
Tristyn Bailey at a cheer competition and Aiden Fucci after being arrested

Fourteen-year-old Aiden Fucci has been charged with first-degree murder for the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey in St. Johns, Florida. 

Bailey was reported missing on the morning of May 9 and her body was recovered within 16 hours of her disappearance. Aiden Fucci, a 14-year-old student at her school, was taken into custody soon after and originally charged with second-degree murder

Now, in a virtual court appearance held on Friday, May 28, Fucci's charge was upgraded to first-degree murder and it was determined that he will be tried as an adult in light of disturbing evidence that indicates this may have been a premeditated attack. 

What happened to Tristyn Bailey?

Someone matching the description of Bailey, a student and cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy, was seen walking near the Durbin Crossing’s North Amenity Center (with someone matching the description of Fucci) at 1:14 a.m. on Sunday, May 9, according to the post announcing the missing person from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

The two were also seen on surveillance video from a nearby home about 30 minutes later.

Just under two hours after that, the same camera "captured only one individual walking west and carrying a pair of shoes."

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Throughout all of Sunday, which was Mother’s Day, members of the community, including classmates and members of the cheer squad, searched for her.

Just after 6 p.m., Bailey’s body was found near a wooded area thanks to the massive search effort.

St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick praised the efforts of everyone involved.

“I cannot thank this community enough,” Hardwick said. “We saw moms and families out walking the woodline in clothes like church clothes yesterday. This case was solved because a gentleman saw the information put out there and went to work looking around his immediate area.”

Fucci was booked in St. Johns County but was transferred and initially held at a Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Volusia County until May 28.

What evidence has been found?

The investigation has uncovered upsetting information about Bailey's final moments and Fucci's alleged involvement. More information will be revealed in Fucci's upcoming trial but here is what we know so far.

Aiden Fucci posted a Snapchat from a police car, joking about Tristyn Bailey. 

Hardwick did not initially comment on the disturbing image floating around social media showing Fucci in the back of a police car captioned: “Hey guys has inybody (sic) seen Tristyn lately?”

But today, a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson confirmed that the person in the photo is, indeed, Fucci.

Photo: Snapchat

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There have also been other posts from Fucci and his friends that read along the lines of, “She probably deserved it” and, “Don’t dress like that and you might not get raped.”

There were more explicit posts as well that insinuate Fucci may have sexually assaulted Bailey.

Hardwick said that Tristyn’s body was fully clothed when she was found and that charges could be upgraded against Fucci as more evidence is found and linked to him.

On Tuesday, the arrest report for Fucci was released by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

The report described video footage that showed Fucci and Bailey walking together at 1:45 a.m. around where her body was later found. At 3:27 a.m. Fucci was seen walking alone with shoes in his hands which he told police were hurting his feet.

Tristyn Bailey was stabbed 114 times.

According to a Facebook post released shortly after Bailey's death by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, it was confirmed that Bailey died as a result of a stabbing.

“It has now been determined by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Predrag Bulic that the cause of death is sharp force trauma by stabbing," the post says. "The manner of death is homicide. We will continue to investigate this case fully and will begin transitioning this case to the State Attorney's Office.”

State attorney, R.J. Larizza, later revealed that Bailey was stabbed 114 times using a knife that is believed to belong to Fucci. The weapon was found in a pond near where Bailey's body was discovered. 

Larizza described wounds on Bailey's hands and arms, implying she had fought her attacker during the murder. 

“The bottom line is that premeditation, could be inferred, certainly from just the sheer number of stab wounds that Tristyn Bailey had to suffer,” Larizza said.

Following a search warrant that was executed at Fucci’s house, it “yielded a presumptive positive test result for the presence of blood.”

Fucci lives 0.3 miles away from where Bailey’s body was discovered.

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Aiden Fucci told witnesses he was going to kill someone.

Larizza says investigators talked to witnesses who claimed that Fucci made “statements to several people that he was going to kill someone.”

“He didn’t say who that was, but he indicated to witnesses that he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them, which are certainly the facts of this case,” Larizza said.

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This will likely be used in the case against Fucci to prove that this was a planned attack. 

What’s next for Fucci?

On the morning of Friday May 28, Fucci made his first court appearance after his charges were upgraded from second-degree murder to first-degree murder.

It was ordered that Fucci be held without bond. Fucci has been held at the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Daytona Beach since his arrest. However, with the upgraded charge, his case now transfers automatically to adult court. 

Fucci was re-arrested and moved to the adult jurisdiction ahead of his pending trial. Fucci will now be represented by a public defender after his private attorney withdrew for unknown reasons.  

The community continues to support Tristyn's family.

A member of the community in St. Johns has created a GoFundMe page for those who want to help in some way.

The description of the GoFundMe reads: “This is a memorial fundraiser for Tristyn Bailey who was incredibly near and dear to so many. Her family has in no way asked for anything, but so many have reached out wanting to help. Thank you in advance for all of your prayers and support.”

Many of the community members who live in the area put aqua-colored ribbons on their mailboxes after they heard it was Bailey's favorite color.

“My daughter told me to do it, so, I do it from my heart,” neighbor Endrna Rodriguez said. “Yesterday was a [sic] Mother’s Day. Every Mother’s Day, she’s going to be very sad.”

How often does an occurrence like this happen among teenagers?

According to the World Health Organization, 200,000 homicides occur each year among young people aged 10-29, which accounts for 42% of the total number of homicides globally each year.

Unfortunately, homicide among teenagers is more common than we think. And in many cases, reports of sexual assault or abuse are also linked with these crimes.

Then there are those cases that aren’t disclosed or even discovered, so the reported numbers are really just an estimate.

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Tomás Diniz Santos is a writer living in Orlando, Florida. He covers news, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.