A teenage boy in Florida is under arrest in the suspected murder of a girl about his age. Aiden Fucci, 14, is believed to have killed Tristyn Bailey, 13, said St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick in an update on Monday. The official confirmed that the body found Sunday evening was the missing victim.
The alleged motive remains unclear. So do the cause and manner of death.
Bailey is the St. Johns County teenager who was reported missing Sunday morning. Deputies received a 911 call from her family at 10 a.m., Hardwick said. The call led to a search. Tristyn was last seen after midnight.
As apparent from local reporting, volunteers were out in force.
Volunteers have been relocated by police to the Amenity Center in the Durbin Crossing neighborhood by police. A volunteer said police have told volunteers they can search the woods. pic.twitter.com/tgUQaUjIYt
— Brie Isom (@BrieIsomWJXT) May 9, 2021
The above tweet is timed at 6:07 p.m. Bailey’s body was allegedly discovered just minutes earlier. A local man found her dead in a remote, wooded area around a pond at 6 p.m., said authorities.
Hardwick named Fucci during a press conference. Under Florida law, authorities are allowed to release certain juvenile records, including a defendant’s name and photograph, if the crime the juvenile is suspected of committing would be a felony if it was alleged to have been committed by an adult. However, authorities are still contemplating precisely what charges to file.
“As Sheriff Hardwick stated in his press conference today, our office will continue to investigate the case to determine both the appropriate charges going forward, and whether or not he will be charged as an adult,” said state attorney’s office spokesman Bryan L. Shorstein in a statement obtained by Law&Crime.
The suspect was booked on a charge of second-degree murder. Other, more serious charges are possible, the sheriff said.
Deputies announced the discovery of Bailey’s body Sunday night, but had yet to officially determine it was her. Hardwick confirmed the worst fears on Monday.
It is unclear how and why the alleged murder happened. Investigators were in the very early stages of the case, Hardwick said. He only described the suspect as having gone to Patriot Oaks Academy, the same school that Bailey attended.
In answering reporter questions, Hardwick attempted to dispel rumors circulating on social media and worked to calm reported tensions and threats. He described the area as a “tight-knit” community. Asked about talk of a second individual involved, the sheriff said they are interviewing people and that authorities have in custody the only suspect that has to do with the death of Tristyn. The sheriff urged claim in the wake of Bailey’s death, and he requested that people let the authorities do their jobs. When asked, he did not specify if there were direct witnesses to the alleged murder.
“Let’s not accuse people inaccurately,” he said. “We have the suspect in custody, and we cannot bring Tristyn back.”
[Image via St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office]
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