Tristyn Bailey murder: Nashville teen Levi Whitehouse, 15, gets death threats as trolls frame him for killing
'I had no clue [about the case],' said Whitehouse, a young gamer, whose photos are being used by trolls to falsely claim he was involved in Bailey's murder
Although 14-year-old Aiden Fucci has been arrested in the murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, a cheerleader from Patriot Oaks Academy in St Johns County, Florida, and investigators in the case have said that nobody else is believed to be involved, a teenager from Nashville, Tennessee, is being targetted by online trolls, who say he had something to do with her death.
Levi Whitehouse, a young gamer believes that he is the target of a prank by the online gaming community. His name is being circulated by trolls who are making false claims about his involvement in Bailey's murder. Meanwhile, the police issued a warning to people who had set up fake social media accounts trying to garner notoriety from the case.
"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," St John's County Sheriff's Office said. Some of the fake Instagram accounts flagged up by investigators had #freeaiden hashtags on their posts. Despite the warning from authorities, these false claims and pranks continue to circulate on social media.
Bailey was filmed walking with her schoolmate, Fucci, who has been accused of stabbing the girl to death, according to police. The surveillance footage of the incident, which has not been released by investigators, allegedly shows Baily and Fucci walking near the community center in St Johns, Florida, at 1.45 am on Sunday, May 9.
This was the last time she was ever seen alive. At 3.27 am, Fucci was seen walking away from the community center alone, nearly two hours later, according to the report. The St Johns County Sheriff's Office arrested Aiden on second-degree murder charges in Baily's death after the victim's body was found at a pond just a quarter of a mile from her home.
Why is Levi Whitehouse being targeted?
The Nashville teen, who claims to have never even visited St Johns Country in northeast Florida, is being targeted online by trolls. Some of them have even posted death threats against the boy.
Some of the social media posts, as viewed by News4Jax, say that the trolls are not only targeting Whitehouse but also taunting Bailey’s family and friends by circulating a picture of what is claimed to be the murder weapon.
Meanwhile, Whitehouse told the local station, “I had no clue [about the case]," despite his photos being used in the posts by trolls about his involvement in the murder. One of these pictures reportedly shows him standing beside his friend's tombstone.
He said that he started receiving death threats after his circulated pictures and videos were viewed millions of times, without his permission. “I pray for the family for having to go through all this mess, but I promise we are not involved in this,” Levi’s father, Steve Whitehouse, told News4Jax. “And if there’s anything we can do to get to the bottom of it, I’ll do whatever we need to do 155 percent.”
Trolls might be charged
Even as Whitehouse's family continues to keep Bailey's loved ones in their prayers, they want the nation to know that Levi has nothing to do with the teen's murder. Levi thinks there was a chance that the mean and potentially criminal comments started with other gamers deciding to use his identity as part of a horrible prank.
The family is now in touch with detectives at the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office and investigators are looking into the case. “We all are scared for our safety,” Steve Whitehouse said. “As a matter fact, we’re moving on account of all this. I don’t know it’s going to happen amongst all this mess.” Under Florida law, individuals behind such trolling can be charged for interfering with a police investigation. Cyberbullying is also considered a felony.