Sheriff on death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey: ‘This is a cold-blooded murder’

St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick says Aiden Fucci is the only suspect in case

13-year-old Tristyn Bailey stabbed to death, medical examiner says
13-year-old Tristyn Bailey stabbed to death, medical examiner says

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick described the killing of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey as “not an accident” and called her death a “cold-blooded murder,” News 6 partner WJXT-TV reported.

“This is a cold-blooded murder of a 13-year-old young girl who did not deserve to die,” the sheriff said Tuesday.

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Hardwick has been in law enforcement a long time but just recently became the sheriff in St. Johns County. Like so many others have expressed, the killing of Bailey is shocking for a growing neighborhood seen as safe.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that the chief medical examiner determined the teenage girl’s death was a homicide caused by “sharp force trauma by stabbing.”

“That being said, I don’t want to mention the number of times, but it is horrific. It is horrible,” Hardwick said. “And the word accident is nowhere involved in this case.”

Hardwick said Aiden Fucci, 14, is the only suspect detectives have in the case.

Boy arrested on murder charge in classmate’s death appears before Volusia County judge
Boy arrested on murder charge in classmate’s death appears before Volusia County judge

Fucci, a schoolmate of Bailey’s at Patriot Oaks Academy, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death.

Fucci appeared in court Tuesday for the first time. The 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office has not yet decided if he will be charged as an adult. While the State Attorney’s Office makes that determination, Fucci was ordered to be held in Department of Juvenile Justice custody for the next 21 days or until the next court order.

The sheriff said determining a motive is not clear-cut yet, so the investigation is ongoing.

“We’re going to look at every aspect, every crime that’s out there. Our guys and girls are going to leave no stone unturned,” Hardwick said. “So those facts will come forward as the office of the medical examiner will actually complete their investigation.”

The sheriff’s office said about 100 detectives are working the case. The sheriff said they will follow up on as many leads as they have, looking for cellphone and video footage.


About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.