On Sunday May 9th, 2021, Tristyn Bailey was a 13-year-old cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy that everyone described as being a wonderful person and a role model to her peers. Tristyn was last seen around the midnight between Saturday and Sunday by her family. After failing to locate her in the morning, Tristyn’s family reported her missing at 10:00 a.m. and police began the search.
As part of their investigation, local police pulled surveillance footage in her Durbin Crossing neighborhood in St. John, Florida. This footage first showed two teenagers, one assumed to be Tristyn, near the North Amenity Center at 1:15 a.m., around an area of the neighborhood that has a community pool, gym, and playground. At 1:45 a.m., the teenagers were seen walking East down Saddlestone Drive. Less than 2 hours later at 3:27 a.m., only one of the two teenagers were spotted walking down the road holding a pair of shoes.
A 14-year-old boy who lives in the same Durbin Crossing neighborhood and goes to Patriot Oaks Academy was questioned in an attempt to locate Tristyn or identify the teenagers on the video. In the beginning he was cooperative and made admissions during his initial statement. He repeatedly changed his story throughout his interaction with police. When his mother asked why he was carrying his shoes, he simply stated that his feet hurt.
Around 6 p.m. a resident of the neighborhood found Tristyn’s body at the South end of a retention pond in the woods behind the houses at the end of the Saddlestone Drive cul-de-sac. After the discovery of her body and the investigation going from a missing person’s case to a murder investigation, Fucci stopped cooperating. While in custody in the back seat of the Deputy’s cruiser, Fucci took a selfie while giving the peace sign and posted it to Snapchat with the caption “Hey guys has inybody seen Tristyn lately”. The police are aware of this social media activity and have submitted it as evidence.
Tristyn’s body was found fully clothed. The manner of death was not immediately released, but the State’s Attorney’s Office initially stated that Tristyn was stabbed more than once, with the police expressing that they will not disclose the number of times but would say that it was “horrific”. Significant injury to her head and other trauma was also noted. After review by the medical examiner it was released that Tristyn was stabbed 114 times, with 49 of the injuries being defensive wounds to her arms and hands indicating that she put up an courageous fight. The tip of a blade was found embedded in Tristyn’s scalp.
Armed with evidence gathered during their investigation, local authorities were able to obtain a search warrant for Fucci’s home and surrounding areas. A foldable Buck knife was located in a retention pond behind Fucci’s home by divers. Inside of the residence, police found a bloody shirt and shoes that belong to Fucci. The discovered clothing match the clothing seen on the surveillance video.
Aiden Fucci was arrested Sunday evening, May 9th, 2021, the same day as the crime was committed. On Monday, Fucci was charged with Second Degree Murder. While the Judge read the charges to Aiden Fucci, he stated that he is being charged with second degree murder or “murder committed with a depraved mind but without premeditation”. On May 27th after a Grand Jury meeting, Fucci’s charge was upgraded to first degree murder. This means Fucci will be tried as an adult. If convicted, this charge typically holds a 25 to life sentence. Do to his age, his case will likely be eligible for review at 25 years old. This case is still developing, and the summary will be updated as more details emerge.