Missing Florida Cheerleader Found Dead, 14-Year-Old Boy Arrested
The search for the 13-year-old Florida cheerleader comes to an end after her body was found less than a day after she was reported missing.
Tristyn Bailey was last seen shortly after midnight on Sunday in her Durbin Crossing neighborhood. The Florida cheerleader was found dead in a remote wooded area near a pond past 6 p.m. by a resident.
She was found after law enforcement officials released a missing person alert, People reported. Sheriff Robert Hardwick of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said in a press conference on Monday that an arrest had been made in connection to Bailey's disappearance and killing.
New York Post reported that the arrested person is 14-year-old Aiden Fucci, who is an eighth-grader at Patriot Oaks Academy, where Tristyn Bailey is in the seventh grade.
Police have yet to establish the relationship between the alleged suspect and the victim. The suspect is being held on one account of second-degree murder, and officials are still determining if the suspect will be charged as an adult. Hardwick noted that they can "always increase the charge."
The Florida Cheerleader's Case
Hardwick said that the investigative team is still interviewing all kinds of witnesses, whether they are directly involved or not.
The sheriff also said that investigators are looking through social media posts that could be used in the case. However, he did not comment on reports of a photo posted by Fucci with the twisted message on Snapchat, according to The Daily Beast.
Aiden Fucci had reportedly posted a disturbing image on Snapchat after being arrested for the Florida cheerleader's killing. The teen suspect was seen giving a peace sign on the back of a patrol car in his Snapchat post.
He has captioned the image by asking the public if they have seen Bailey lately. Authorities were aware of the post but did not comment on the matter.
The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday morning. Hardwick did not answer questions about Tristyn Bailey's manner of death. But he said the Florida cheerleader was found fully clothed. He urged the public to stop speculating on the case.
Tristyn Bailey was seen by a man who was out on his regular walking and jogging path in a subdivision. She was found in a wooded area near a pond, according to authorities.
Hardwick acknowledged that the community is angry. But he assured that justice would be served, according to an Orlando Sentinel report.
Bailey's coach, Courtney Sparks, said the Florida cheerleader is the "most cheerful, most spirited, friendliest person" in the team, and "she's the person to like help push the team forward."
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up in support of her family. It has already raised more than $4,000 toward its $20,000 goal. Hardwick said that it is not an easy process, citing the family grieving the loss of a loved one.
Florida Juvenile Arrests
Last November, Florida has reported a plummet to a 45-year low regarding juvenile arrests in Florida, according to another Orlando Sentinel report. Officials said that school closings and shutdowns due to the COVID pandemic accelerated the downward trend.
In the fiscal year 2019-2010, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice said that 45,366 juveniles were arrested. It was a 17 percent decline compared to the previous fiscal year, which recorded 54,885 juvenile arrests.
WATCH: 13-Year-Old St. Johns County Girl Found Dead, 14-Year-Old Arrested - From First Coast News
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