Tristyn Bailey Was Stabbed 114 times
On May 9, 2021, Tristyn Bailey was supposed to help make a special Mother’s Day breakfast for mom Stacey – however she went missing instead.
At a memorial service held one year after, Tristyn’s father Forrest recalled how Sophia had already begun prepping the meal before they even realized something was amiss.
Forrest Bailey lamented to WJXT-TV of his experience at the service
At around 10am, Tristyn, a 13-year-old seventh grade student at Patriot Oaks Academy, went missing. The family immediately reported her whereabouts to the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office who issued an urgent missing person alert.
Tristyn was last seen at 1.15am that morning at Durbin Amenity Center in northwest St Johns County. She was wearing a white cheerleading skirt and dark shirt.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is actively searching for the whereabouts of a child reported missing earlier today by family.
At around 6pm that night, her body was discovered near a retention pond near Saddle stone Drive south of Jacksonville.
According to the sheriff’s department, she had been stabbed 114 times, including 49 defensive stab wounds on her arms and right hand. Sheriff Rob Hardwick reported to The St. Augustine Record it had been an abyssal, violent death. “I hate to use those words, but — it’s our worst nightmare,” he said.
Aiden Fucci, a 14-year-old classmate living half a mile from where Tristyn was found dead, was arrested that night while police continued their search.
While in the back of a police car, he took a selfie and posted it on Snapchat. “Hey guys, has anybody seen Tristyn lately?” the caption read.
Later, the State Attorney’s Office released multiple Snapchat videos taken and uploaded while Fucci was in police custody. Fucci smiled as he looked into the camera, proclaiming: “We’re having fun in a police car!”
In a separate Snapchat video, Fucci appears to be alone in a police car and says: “Guess who’s in that f***ing cop car… tripping!”
On Monday, February 6, 2013, Fucci entered a plea of guilty to first-degree murder on the first day of his trial.
Fucci, now 16 years old, apologized to the Bailey family in court. “I sincerely regret any offense I have caused them,” Fucci declared as she exited the room.
Judge R. Lee Smith of St. Johns County Circuit Court noted that no plea had been entered into with prosecutors prior to sentencing.
According to one of the teenager’s lawyers, prosecutors had already rejected several plea deals offered by the defense.
According to WJXT-TV, some of Bailey’s family members left the courtroom in tears following his 11th hour change of plea. He could face a life sentence, with at least 40 years behind bars.
Sheriff Hardwick said in a statement after the guilty plea that it was indicative of the overwhelming evidence investigators had compiled.
People paid tribute to the Bailey family
“Their strength and grace throughout this case has been truly inspirational,” he said. “This agency will forever be connected to the Bailey Family, and this community will always remain #BaileyStrong.”
On May 21, 2022, hundreds of residents dressed in aqua, teal and turquoise for a vigil to remember Tristyn. According to WJXT-TV, one year had passed since her passing on May 1.
Her former cheerleading teammates proudly donned t-shirts reading: “We cheer for Tristyn.” Tristyn’s family, commonly referred to as the Bailey 7, released a statement to indicate they are working on several initiatives in her memory.
These initiatives included connecting with youth mental health programs and hosting awards in Tristyn’s honor for her former cheerleading and lacrosse teams.
“Through acts of kindness and love as a community, we can drive out evil together,” the family statement reads.