The St. Johns County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Augustine, Fla. has determined that 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey was stabbed to death sometime after midnight early Sunday morning.
“It has now been determined by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Predrag Bulic that the cause of death is sharp force trauma by stabbing,” a press release from St. Johns County Sheriff Robert A. Hardwick reads. “The manner of death is homicide.”
Bailey’s disappearance and death became national points of interest over the weekend as a massive search including “the public, media and community partners,” according to police, occurred throughout Sunday afternoon at various locations near the Durbin Amenity Center–where the teenager was last seen at around 1:15 a.m.
The girl’s parents reported her missing less than nine hours later. Authorities joined searches in progress just before 5 p.m. local time.
Bailey’s body was found just around 6 p.m.
The sheriff’s press release details some of the investigatory timeline:
At approximately 6pm on May 9th, a body was discovered in the immediate area. We have now confirmed the identity of the body to be that of Tristyn Bailey. We also have a suspect in custody, 14-year-old Aiden Fucci. Based on the discovery of the body and admissions during questioning, we refocused our investigative efforts. We were able to obtain numerous search warrants which led to the location of multiple items of evidentiary value at the suspect’s home.”
Jacksonville-based CBS affiliate WJAX reporter and true crime podcaster Bridgette Matter obtained a copy Fucci’s redacted arrest report which alleges that “several items of evidentiary value” were recovered from the defendant’s bedroom–some of which police say tested “positive for the presence of blood.”
Narrative for arrest report of Aiden Fucci pic.twitter.com/D5jXOPfCQe
— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) May 11, 2021
That report also contains details about the discovery of Bailey’s body.
“The victim was located deceased on the south end of a retention pond, located just to the east of the cul-de-sac of Saddlestone Drive,” the document reads. “The victim appeared to have a significant injury to her head and other trauma and was wearing black pants with a black shirt.” The report also says Fucci’s residence “is located approximately .3 miles from the location where the victim was discovered.”
Fucci was charged with second-degree murder on Monday and is currently being held in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice as he awaits a determination from the Florida State’s Attorney’s Office as to whether he will be prosecuted as an adult.
A potential motive for the alleged killer is still unknown.
The defendant’s first court appearance occurred without much fanfare mid-morning on Tuesday.
Fucci was read his rights and apprised of the charge against him. During the brief proceeding, he appeared to hold back tears.
“We will continue to investigate this case fully and will begin transitioning this case to the State’s Attorney’s Office,” the sheriff added in the Tuesday afternoon press release.
“We again would like to thank the community who with their immediate assistance led us to being able to find Tristyn,” the release went on. “This is certainly not the outcome we wanted, but justice will be served. We ask that you continue to keep the family of Tristyn Bailey, as well as, their community in your thoughts and prayers.”
Law&Crime reached out to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for additional comment and details regarding Bailey’s death but no response was immediately forthcoming.
[image via St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]