The cause of death for Tristyn Bailey, the 13-year-old cheerleader found murdered in a wooded area in Florida, is stabbing. Prosecutors, who have charged Aiden 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.
That’s according to medical examiner’s office. How did Tristyn Bailey die? 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.”
Journalist Katie Jeffries wrote on Twitter that the “State Attorney’s Office confirms that Tristyn was stabbed more than once.”
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.
Bloody clothes similar to those seen on the teen in the video were found in Fucci’s home, the report says.
The horrific crime has shocked the community in and around Jacksonville, Florida, where the teen participated in competitive cheerleading. A suspect, Aiden Fucci, 14, who attended the same school as Bailey, is under arrest and accused of second-degree murder.
“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.”
The motive is not clear.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Selfie Fucci Posted to Snapchat Mentions the Girl
Tristyn Bailey 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.
Authorities are reviewing a Snapchat selfie “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. Unfortunately, with some of these things that are actually maybe you think is detrimental to the case actually help us to in the case and actually don’t actually hurt the case because we’re collecting this media.”
Fucci’s Parents Appeared by Zoom for His First Court Appearance
Fucci had his first court appearance on May 11, 2021. His parents were on the zoom call. According to the Sun and labels on the Zoom video, their names are Crystal Smith and Jason Fucci.
Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger said Fucci will remain in custody for at least 21 days.
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.
The Sheriff said that Bailey was last seen just after midnight.
An extensive search resulted. By that evening, her body was found – in the woods nearby.
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. Both attended Patriot Oaks Academy. That’s a K-8 school located in St. Augustine, Florida.
The sheriff said “they grew up in the same neighborhood.”
“These kids went to the same school together,” Hardwick said.
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.”