Florida 14-year-old appears in court: Everything we know about killing of cheerleader Tristyn Bailey

·2 min read
<p>Police have charged a teenage suspect with the murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey</p> (St Johns County Sheriff’s Office)

Police have charged a teenage suspect with the murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey

(St Johns County Sheriff’s Office)

The Florida teenager accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey has made his first court appearance.

Aiden Fucci, 14, appeared virtually before Judge Michael Orfinger in Volusia County via Zoom at about 8.30am on Tuesday. He has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tristyn, who was his classmate at Patriot Oaks Academy in St Johns County.

Tristyn’s family reported her missing at around 10am on Sunday morning, according to the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office. At about 6pm, a neighbour found her body in a wooded area of the Durbin Amenity Center, near Aiden’s home. Not long after that, police arrested him.

“Based on the discovery of the body and admissions during questioning, we refocused our investigative efforts,” the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office told Click Orlando.

Police said that Tristyn was found fully clothed and was wearing a dark top and white cheer skirt. They did not disclose how she died.

After his arrest on Sunday night, Aiden took a selfie in the back of a police car and posted it on Snapchat.

“Hey guys has anybody seen Tristyn lately,” the caption read. At that point the search for the 13-year-old victim was still ongoing.

Judge Orfinger has ordered Aiden to be held for 21 days. During that time, state attorney officials say they will decide whether or not to try him as an adult.

In the meantime, police called for calm.

“This is a long process, we’re in the very early stages of this,” Sheriff Robert Hardwick said at a press conference, adding that “there are no further threats to this case.”

The St Johns community is still reeling from the shock of Tristyn’s death. Coaches remember the seventh-grader, who was on her school’s cheerleading squad, as a sweet and effusive young woman.

“She is just the most cheerful, most spirited friendliest person,” her coach, Courtney Sparks, told WJXT-TV. “[She] is down to basically do whatever really to help unite the team. Whatever it takes for like the team to get to the next level, she’s the person to like help push the team forward.”

Another coach, Tanya White, said the teen had a “beautiful smile and presence.”

“She always was the first to hug me,” Ms White told Fox News. “She was officially my favourite.”