Tristyn Bailey was brutally murdered during the early morning hours of May 9th, 2021. The young girl was only 13-years-old. Shortly after her body was found, a 14-year-old named Aiden Fucci was charged as an adult with Tristyn’s murder in the first degree.
Tristyn was a 7th grader at a Patriot Oaks Academy in St. Augustine, Florida. She was a cheerleader and beloved member of the community. While it does not appear that Tristyn and Aiden Fucci ran in the same social circles, they still knew each other. Aiden also attended Patriot Oaks Academy, and he and Tristyn lived in the same neighborhood in St. Johns County.
Investigators looked at surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, and ultimately found footage of two people matching the descriptions of Tristyn Bailey and Aiden Fucci walking together on Saddlestone Drive at 1:45 AM. Around 3:30 AM, the same surveillance camera captured only one person – presumably Aiden – walking back in the other direction.
A search for Tristyn in the surrounding area was conducted. Around 6 PM, a searcher found a body in a wooded area near a retention pond, located just east of Saddlestone Drive. Shortly thereafter, the body was identified as that of Tristyn Bailey. She had been stabbed numerous times.
Investigators questioned Aiden Fucci very early into the investigation. He reportedly made many conflicting statements. At some point, Aiden was into the back of a police car. While in the vehicle, he posted a selfie to Snapchat with the caption, “Hey guys has inybody (sic) seen Tristyn lately.” It’s unclear if this selfie was taken before or after his arrest. Aiden was finally arrested around 3:30 AM on May 10th, after police found various items and pieces of clothing covered in blood in his bedroom.
Members of the community were shocked not only by Tristyn’s violent death, but also by the fact that another child in the community was being charged with her murder. Many were also shocked by Aiden’s seemingly insensitive Snapchat that he posted regarding Tristyn’s disappearance. In the days and weeks that followed Aiden’s arrest, many more appalling details about the case were revealed.
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Aiden was initially charged with second-degree murder. Following his arrest, many social media posts surfaced from other teens who claimed to be involved in the crime. These posts also seemingly supported Aiden and contained disparaging messages about Tristyn. Investigators looked into these Instagram posts and accounts, but have maintained that Aiden was the only one who participated in the act of murdering Tristyn.
Weeks later his arrest, Aiden’s charges were upgraded to first-degree murder. At this time, prosecutors decided to try Aiden as an adult as well. It was then revealed that Aiden’s friends had told investigators that Aiden has expressed that he wanted to kill someone. While he did not name Tristyn or any other specific target, Aiden did reportedly tell friends that he wanted to kill someone by bringing them into the woods and stabbing them. It appears that Aiden did exactly this to Tristyn. The stabbing was also particularly brutal. Tristyn had been stabbed over 114 times. 49 of her wounds were defensive wounds–indicating that she had fought for her life.
While Aiden has not confessed to stabbing Tristyn, he did reportedly admit that he was with her on the night of her murder. He reportedly told police that he and Tristyn left a mutual friend’s house together and got into an argument shortly thereafter. Aiden also admitted that he shoved her to the ground. Since he has already made numerous conflicting statements, it is unclear if investigators believe this version of events–however they are certain that he is Tristyn’s killer.
In early June 2021, Aiden’s mother Crystal Lane Smith was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in this case. She’s accused of scrubbing the jeans Aiden wore on the night of Tristyn’s murder in their sink. Forensic testing on the sink revealed that there were traces of blood in the drain. Crystal has been released on bail, however Aiden remains in custody. Their charges are pending.
UPDATE (March 2023):
After pleading guilty, Aiden made a statement of apology to the Bailey family. In March of 2023, he was sentenced to life in prison.