Aiden Fucci is a 14-year-old Florida boy who is accused of stabbing 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey to death with a hunting-style buck knife. A chilling Snapchat selfie photo of Fucci, taken after Tristyn’s death, mentions the seventh-grade girl.
Prosecutors, who have charged Fucci as an adult, say he stabbed Tristyn 114 times, according to USA Today.
“At least 49 of those stab wounds were to the hands, arms and the head. They were defensive in nature,” prosecutor RJ Larizza said in court. He also said that Fucci was not receiving mental health counseling and claimed the murder was premeditated, saying that witnesses claim Fucci said, before the murder, that he “intended to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them.” The prosecutor said that Bailey may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time because, although Fucci allegedly called his intentions “imminent,” he didn’t name the intended victim.
Despite his young age, authorities released Fucci’s name due to the seriousness of the charges. “We actually have arrested a suspect by the name of Aiden Fucci … a 14-year-old,” said St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick in a news conference. “He’s currently in custody with the Department of Juvenile Justice, charged with second-degree murder.”
Tristyn was reported missing early Sunday morning, May 9, 2021, and her body was found by a neighbor later that evening in the woods, Hardwick said. He told News4Jax that the teen was stabbed a “horrific…horrible” number of times and said, “This is a cold-blooded murder of a 13-year-old young girl who did not deserve to die.” Hardwick said there was no chance it was an accident.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release that the chief medical examiner determined that the cause of death was “sharp force trauma by stabbing. The manner of death is homicide.”
Here’s what you need to know about Aiden Fucci:
1. The Snapchat Photo Asks Whether Anyone Has ‘Seen Tristyn Lately’
Authorities are reviewing a Snapchat photo “showing a teenager in the back seat of a deputy’s cruiser,” according to News4Jax, which said police confirmed the teen in the photo is Fucci.
The news station reported that it was posted to Fucci’s Snapchat account. He is making a peace sign in the picture along with the caption, “Hey guys has inybody seen Tristyn lately.”
Asked about this at the press conference, Hardwick said, “I will say our real-time intelligence center really has captured all these videos as much as we can. We monitor it.”
Fucci had his first court appearance on May 11, 2021. His parents, Jason Fucci and Crystal Smith, were on the video call.
“Alright Mr. Fucci you’re charged with … second-degree murder, murder committed with a depraved mind but without premeditation,” Judge Michael Orfinger said during the hearing.
Authorities have not yet decided whether to charge him as a juvenile or adult, according to News4Jax. Thousands of people have signed a Change.org petition urging the system to charge Fucci as an adult.
Internet trolls have swarmed the Internet with posts mocking Tristyn Bailey and claiming they were part of her death, according to social media posts. One post showed a bloody knife and some use the #FreeAiden, according to News4Jax.
News4Jax reported that authorities are working to verify the identity of the trolls and have identified the following as verified troll accounts, “D_Conner, WD_Tyler, WD.Jayson, ATK.Jayson, Wd_jayson, ATK.Kris, Ryan.the.finnesser and Carey_the_thuggg420.”
Sheriff’s officials have said they believe Fucci acted alone. But the sheriff said, “We’re trying to figure out is this real, is this legit, is this coming from a person that’s a possible witness? We’re going to find out with every single lead.”
The Sheriff’s Department wrote in a news release,
“COMMUNITY ALERT RE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY IN REFERENCE TO THE TRISTYN BAILEY INVESTIGATION:
First, we want to thank each of you for your continued efforts by sending in tips to us. We have gained valuable information and look into everything that is being sent. There are a number of accounts however that are using this case to try to gain fame and followers. Please know that these individuals had nothing to do with this incident.
At this time, the below accounts have already been investigated and no longer need to be forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office.
2. Tristyn’s Body Was Located in a Wooded Area
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Hardwick initially would not release the cause of death, but authorities later said the girl was stabbed. Journalist Katie Jeffries wrote on Twitter that the “State Attorney’s Office confirms that Tristyn was stabbed more than once.”
The Sheriff said Tristyn was last seen just after midnight on Sunday.
An extensive search resulted. By that evening, her body was found in the woods nearby.
First Coast News obtained an arrest report that says Fucci “changed his story” several times and made “admissions” it didn’t detail.
A security video shows two teens “walking east on Saddlestone Drive around 1:45 a.m.” Around 3:27 a.m., only one person, holding a pair of shoes, appeared to be walking on the video.
She had a “significant injury to her head and other trauma,” the news site reported.
She was found dead “on the south end of a retention pond.” He told his mother he took his shoes off “because his feet hurt,” the report says.
At 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, 2021, a resident “discovered Tristyn Bailey’s body that was actually located by a person in the neighborhood and called 911,” the sheriff said. “We went out there and recovered the body.”
The sheriff said, “We know the community is angry … they take this personal.”
He said the girl’s body was found in a wooded area and was clothed. A motive has not been released.
3. The Teens Attended the Same School
The sheriff said both Fucci and Tristyn “attended the same school,” but it hadn’t been verified yet if they were classmates. They both attended Patriot Oaks Academy, a kindergarten through eighth-grade school located in St. Johns, Florida.
The sheriff said “they grew up in the same neighborhood.”
“These kids went to the same school together,” Hardwick said.
He said there are “no further threats” to the community.
“The investigative team is out there interviewing all kinds of witnesses,” Hardwick said. “We have a suspect in custody. That is the only suspect that had to do with the death of Tristyn.”
4. Tristyn Was a Beloved Cheerleader in the Community
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Bailey was a beloved cheerleader. “It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the passing of our beloved athlete and friend, Tristyn Bailey,” wrote Infinity All Stars cheer team on Instagram.
“We ask for our Infinity family to pray for comfort, strength and understanding for Tristyn’s family and all of the athletes from our gym. This is just absolutely devastating for everyone who knew and loved her.”
Loved ones took to social media when Tristyn was still missing. “Tristyn Bailey, 13 years old, 7th grade POA left her home last night and has not been heard from since… love this kid like my own. We are heartbroken to not know where she is,” a woman wrote on Facebook.
Tristyn filled her Instagram page with photos of her cheerleading. One photo showed cheerleaders with a trophy and another mentioned homecoming.
5. Authorities Searched a Pond & Found the Murder Weapon
According to News4Jax, authorities searched a pond “near a cul-de-sac in the neighborhood near where Bailey was found” on Monday evening.
A diver brought an item to the surface, and prosecutors say they found the knife used in the attack. They also allege they found blood on Fucci’s clothing.
“We were able to obtain numerous search warrants which led to the location of multiple items of evidentiary value at the suspect’s home,” the sheriff’s press release said. It didn’t describe them.