A 14-year-old boy has been charged with murder in connection with the death of Florida cheerleader Tristyn Bailey, 13.
A 14-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of Tristyn Bailey, whose body was discovered Sunday evening in a wooded area in Florida, authorities said Monday.
Aiden Fucci, 14, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree murder, which may be increased as the investigation progresses, Sheriff Robert Hardwick of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference.
“We have taken custody of a suspect. That is the sole suspect in Tristyn’s murder,” Hardwick told reporters.
“They both went to the same school,” he said, naming Patriot Oaks Academy but refusing to confirm the validity of reported social media posts or any previous relationship between the teenagers.
According to a reporter with WJXT-4 in Jacksonville, a Snapchat selfie allegedly showing Fucci flashing a peace sign in the back of a deputy’s car is being investigated as part of the inquiry.
The post’s chilling caption read, “Hey guys, has anyone seen Tristyn recently?”
“I’ve checked with investigators that this is a part of the murder investigation,” reporter Vic Micolucci said in a Facebook post containing an image of the suspected Snapchat post.
Tristyn’s family reported her missing shortly after 10:00 a.m. Sunday, police said. She was last seen hours earlier, around midnight.
According to the Florida Times-Union, she was hanging out with friends at the Durbin Amenity Center in Durbin Crossing, south of Jacksonville.
Tristyn, a seventh-grader and cheerleader for the Infinity AllStars and Patriot Oaks Chargers, was last seen wearing her cheer uniform, according to the publication.
At about 6 p.m. Sunday, a body believed to be Tristyn’s was found in the local area, police said.
Hardwick verified the discovery Monday, stating that Tristyn was dressed and that she was discovered by a civilian while on a hunt near his house.
“While justice is being done, we recognize the community’s outrage. This is an extremely close-knit community,” he explained. “This has been taken personally by them.”
Hardwick refused to comment on the apparent manner of death and cautioned against speculation as he expressed gratitude to the community for assisting with the search.
“They got to work, between social media and boots on the ground,” he said.
Tristyn was discovered by a man who was out on his daily walking and jogging path in a suburb, sheriff officials said. He discovered her near a stream.