14-Year-Old Boy Arrested After Missing Florida Cheerleader Found Dead
Missing Florida teenager Tristyn Bailey has been found dead after she disappeared over the weekend.
The 13-year-old vanished in St. Johns County, and her body was found less than a day later. She was last seen after midnight on Sunday, May 9, in the Durbin Crossing neighborhood she lived in. She was found dead in a remote, wooded area at around 6 p.m. by a local resident after authorities had put out a missing person alert, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
Her cause of death has not been released.
"We have a suspect arrested and, unfortunately, a 13-year-old girl dead," Sheriff Robert Hardwick announced in a press conference on Monday, May 10. The suspect is 14-year-old Aiden Fucci, News4jax reported.
Local resident Tamalyn Jones participated in the search efforts for Bailey. "I grabbed my son and said we would want the same thing done for my daughter, his sisters," Jones told News4jax. "So we came on over and we couldn’t believe when we saw the outpouring of everybody here."
The boy reportedly attended Patriot Oaks Academy with Bailey, but their relationship is not yet clear, according to Sheriff Hardwick.
He is not being charged as an adult and is currently being held on one count of second-degree murder by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Hardwick said that the decision was made "collectively" with the State's Attorney's Office and "we can always increase the charge."
The investigation is ongoing, as there are "multiple crime scenes," Hardwick said.
"This is not an easy process," he said. "We have a person charged with a serious crime. We have a family grieving the loss of a loved one — a child."
Fucci will make his first court appearance on Tuesday, May 11, in Volusia County, News4jax reported.
A memorial fund was set up on GoFundMe to support Bailey's parents. The fundraiser has thus far raised more than $6,000 of its $20,000 goal.
Bailey was on the cheer squad in school and was described as a natural leader by her coach. "She is just the most cheerful, most spirited friendliest person," Courtney Sparks told News4jax. "[She] is down to basically do whatever really to like help unite the team. Whatever it takes for like the team to get to the next level, she’s the person to like help push the team forward."
A pal who last spoke to the teen on Saturday said she was "a really nice, sweet girl."