ST. JOHNS, Fla. – St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick announced Monday that the body found in the woods near Durbin Crossing just after 6 p.m. Sunday is that of Tristyn Baily and a fellow student at her school was arrested and charged with her murder, WJXT-TV reported.
Aiden Fucci, 14, was taken into custody overnight and is now charged with second-degree murder. He is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
“We have a suspect arrested and, unfortunately, a 13-year-old girl dead,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick said the investigation doesn’t stop with the arrests, with multiple crime scenes being processed, but he said there are no other suspects at this time.
He would not discuss the cause of death but did say her body was fully clothed when it was found. He said it is possible charges against Fucci could be upgraded in consultation with the State Attorney’s Office.
Tristyn was reported missing to police by her family around 10 a.m. on Sunday. Dozens of community members formed search parties to go through wooded areas and areas near the North Amenity Center where she was last seen about 1:15 a.m.
A missing child alert was issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by afternoon. The search was called off after the body was found by a neighbor just after 6 p.m., but no details were given.
St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick made the announcement about two hours later that they believed to have found her remains.
“This was not the outcome the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office wanted, or this community (wanted),” Hardwick said. “This is a grieving community and we’re going to respect our grieving community.”
Shortly after Hardwick spoke, the Sheriff’s Office issued a statement.
“This is a grieving community and we’re going to respect that grieving community. I ask that you put this out there and help us stand by this community and let them grieve together,” the statement said read.
Deputies said the investigation is still ongoing. Anyone who saw Tristyn between midnight and early Sunday evening is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-824-8304 or dial 911. Tips can also be emailed to email@example.com.
Monday morning, counselors were available at Patriot Oaks Academy, where Tristyn attended and was on the cheer squad. Many classmates at her school and several nearby wore white in Tristyn’s memory.
Neighbors are also shaken by the teenager’s death where Tristyn is remembered as a seventh-grade student, a cheerleader, a daughter, sister and a friend.
Deputies continue to be seen throughout the Durbin Crossing community. Crime scene tape remains up at two homes.
Many in the area have put aqua ribbons on their mailboxes after hearing that was Tristyn’s favorite color.
“My daughter told me to do it, So, I do it from my heart,” neighbor Endrna Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez felt special compassion for the girl’s mother.
“Yesterday was a Mother’s Day,” neighbor Endrna Rodriguez said. “Every Mother’s Day, she’s going to be very sad.”
Vigils were held across St. Johns County on Monday to remember Tristyn.