What caused Tristyn Bailey's death? Florida cheerleader, 13, allegedly stabbed multiple times by Aiden Fucci
Sheriff Robert Hardwick described her death as a 'cold-blooded murder'
ST JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA: The St Johns County Sheriff's Office has revealed the cause of death for 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey. According to their press statement, it was because of a "sharp force trauma by stabbing."
Bailey was found dead on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in a wooded area of the Durbin Crossing neighborhood hours after she went missing in St Johns County, Fla. She was reported missing early Sunday morning.
Bailey's death was classified as a homicide by the medical examiner, the St Johns County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. "It has now been determined by Chief Medical Examiner Dr Predrag Bulic that the cause of death is sharp force trauma by stabbing," the press release said.
"The manner of death is homicide. We will continue to investigate this case fully and will begin transitioning this case to the State Attorney's Office," the statement added. The state attorney’s office reportedly confirmed that Bailey was stabbed more than once.
In an interview with local news outlet WJXT, Sheriff Robert Hardwick described Tristyn Bailey's death as a "cold-blooded murder." He added, "That being said, I don't wanna mention the number of times [Tristyn was stabbed], but it is horrific. It is horrible. And the word accident is nowhere involved in this case."
Bailey was last seen shortly after midnight on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in her Durbin Crossing neighborhood. By 6 pm, she was found dead in a remote wooded area by a local resident after authorities put out a missing person alert.
Aiden Fucci arrested
On Monday, May 10, 2021, 14-year-old Aiden Fucci was arrested. According to his arrest report, when Aiden was brought in for questioning, he changed his story multiple times, then admitted to the murder several times.
According to Hardwick, both Tristyn and the suspect attended Patriot Oaks Academy, a public K-8 school, which is about a mile from where the seventh-grader went missing. The teen suspect is currently being held on one count of second-degree murder by the Department of Juvenile Justice.
"That's actually a decision we made collectively... with the State Attorney's Office," Hardwick said at the time. "We can always increase the charge." In a May 11 morning detention hearing held via Zoom, a judge reportedly ordered the teen suspect be held in juvenile custody for at least 21 days. The boy did not speak in court and has not yet entered a plea.
According to Florida law, the state attorney's office is the ultimate authority on whether juvenile suspects are tried as adults. A spokesperson for the 7th Circuit State Attorney's Office reportedly said that the office has not yet determined if he will be charged as an adult.
Connie Stull, the victim's cousin, hopes Fucci will be tried as an adult. "I have cried my eyes out. I looked him [Aiden] up on Facebook, but there are too many. I'm happy they made an arrest and hope they try him as an adult. Tristyn was a sweetheart, she loved cheerleading, I'm an emotional wreck, my husband and I didn't sleep well last night."