Tristyn Bailey case: Mother of Florida teenager accused of murder charged with tampering evidence

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The mother of a Florida teenager accused of killing 13-year-old classmate Tristyn Bailey was charged with tampering with evidence Saturday morning, according to a release from the State Attorney’s Office.

Crystal Lane Smith, 35, the mother of Aiden Fucci, 14, was booked into St. Johns County Jail on the third-degree felony charge.

According to the felony warrant, video surveillance from Smith’s home shows her retrieving a pair of jeans from Fucci’s bedroom that he was reported to be wearing on May 9, the night Bailey was killed.

After Fucci voluntarily left the Durbin Crossing residence with deputies, Smith retrieved “what appeared to be a pair of blue jeans, taking the jeans to the adjacent bathroom, and appeared to be scrubbing the jeans in the bathroom sink,” according to the warrant.

The video then showed Smith taking the jeans to her master bedroom “for a period of time,” the warrant said.

Police said they observed a witness in the video at around 1:05 a.m. who appeared to be having a discussion with the defendant. Smith “retrieved the jeans from the master bedroom and both the witness and the defendant can be seen inspecting the jeans several times” before Smith returned them to Fucci’s bedroom at 1:28 a.m., according to the report.

The day after Bailey was killed, Fucci was placed with his parents in a recorded room at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Smith asked Fucci if he was sure nothing was on his clothes from the night before, the warrant stated. “I think so, why?” Fucci asked. The warrant said Smith “could be observed giving [Fucci] a questioning look and whispered ‘Blood.’”

Police identified and contacted the witness on May 12 and detectives “conducted a surreptitious audio-recorded interview in which the witness advised the defendant located a pair of damp jeans in [Fucci’s] bedroom hamper. The defendant asked the witness if she saw anything on the jeans, and stated she washed the jeans.”

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Police located the jeans in Fucci’s bedroom during a search warrant. The jeans and the drain of the bathroom sink tested positive for the presence of blood, the affidavit stated.

State Attorney R.J. Larizza stated: “tampering with evidence is tampering with justice and cannot be excused or tolerated.”

Bailey's body was found near a retention pond at the end of the cul-de-sac on Saddlestone Drive with "significant injury to her head and other trauma" caused by stabbing, according to a report by the St. Johns County Medical Examiner's Office.

Fucci has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder, accused of stabbing his 13-year-old classmate 114 times.

Because Fucci has been charged as an adult, The St. Augustine Record, part of the USA TODAY Network, is naming him even though he is a juvenile.

This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: Tristyn Bailey case: Mother of suspect charged with tampering evidence