Tristyn Bailey (13) lived in St Johns County with her parents Stacey and Forrest, and her 4 siblings – Brittney Bailey Russell, Alexis Bailey and Sophia Bailey along with brother Teegan Bailey. They referred to themselves as the Bailey 7.
They seemed like a super close knit family. Tristyn was a student at Patriot Oaks Academy and her family have said she loved cheerleading and TikTok.
Her family have spoken about what Tristyn was like.
“She couldn’t care less what the world thought of her. She loved herself some Tristyn,” Brittney said.
Alexis said she spent the summer with Tristyn after COVID-19 hit. The two sisters rescued an injured kitten and became closer during the summer.
“Once Tristyn was officially in the house, I sat her down and I said, ‘Listen, Tree, I’m not your mom, you’re going to help maintain this house with me.’ Again, there’s a lot of animals there. So we set to work on learning how to do laundry, dishes, vacuum, mop, scoop litter boxes and train my new Great Dane puppy Snitch. Spoiler alert, Tristyn never figured out how to vacuum,” Alexis said. “During that summer, I got to watch Tristyn grow and realized just how much she is capable of for herself.”
Teegan said his youngest sister inspired him with the way she pursued her goals.
“I’m not fluent in cheer terms, but I understand a significant milestone is something called a back tuck,” Teegan said. “The amount of times I would hear her talking about this and the amount of practices she went to to master this, that girl worked for her goals.”
The day before Mother’s Day, Teegan said, he went to dinner with his family, and when he got back home, he hadn’t reached his calorie-burning goal for the day, so he went for a walk. When he finished, he told Tristyn he had reached his fitness goal to which she responded, “Cool, bro.”
“The last thing I got to talk about with my sister was I reached my goals. That takes determination and drive, things that I learned from her as my sister,” he said.
On Friday May 7, 2021, Tristyn was seen with some classmates at the Durbin Crossing Food Truck Friday event. Tristyn was driven there by a friend’s parents who also picked them up.
The next day was Saturday May 8. Tristyn sent a text at 10.51pm that night.
Tristyn’s family arrived home at 11.45pm that night. They had been out to dinner to visit one of the adult children.
At 12am (now May 9), Tristyn’s sister Sophia saw her talking on a video chat to a white male wearing a baseball cap. Tristyn was wearing a white cheer shirt and dark shorts.
At 12.25am, Tristyn had an incoming voice call from a phone number belonging to Aiden Fucci.
At 12.30am, Tristyn apparently went to the house of a Doffis ‘Tre’ Absher III. Tre said that Aiden Fucci was also there. Tristyn and Aiden left the house at around 1am.
Tristyn and Aiden were seen on CCTV at 1.24 and 1.45am. The last sighting of both of them was at 1.45am and they were seen walking on a sidewalk towards a pond.
At 3.27am, just one person is seen walking away from the pond. The person can be seen wearing the same clothing that Aiden had on previously.
At 9.40am on May 9, Tristyn’s siblings went to wake her up for a Mother’s Day breakfast. This is when they discovered she was missing. They searched and when they could not find her, they called 911 at around 10am.
Stacy, Tristyn’s mother, made the call. She appeared upset and distraught. She told the dispatcher about Tristyn’s physical description and that Tristyn had been seen by a sibling at around midnight. She also said that Tristyn had never snuck out of the house before. Her cellphone was not at home and all calls were going straight to voicemail. Stacy also said that Tristyn’s cellphone and snapchat locations had been turned off. Tristyn also had the Life 360 app but had apparently stopped sharing her location.
The dispatcher asked Stacy to search the house room by room while she was on the phone. Stacy said they had already searched. She also told the dispatcher that Tristyn had been hanging out with different friends in the neighborhood. She also said that Tristyn had not seemed upset the night before but that she had been stand offish lately and had been going into her room a lot to be alone.
Stacy confirmed that Tristyn had never said anything about wanting to leave or wanting to harm herself but that she had spoken about feeling like she couldn’t do anything right. Tristyn was not on any medications for depression or anxiety and her mother said she did not have a boyfriend.
This missing persons report was issued at the time:
“A Florida missing child alert has been issued for 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey of St. Johns, according to the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Bailey was last seen in the area of the 700 block of North Durbin Parkway at around 1:15 a.m. Sunday.
Bailey is reportedly 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds, has blonde hair with green eyes and was last seen wearing a white cheer shirt, black or blue shorts and black shoes, deputies said.”
At 2.23pm St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy Kurt Hannon pinged Tristyn’s phone.
Two deputies went to the home of Tre Absher and interviewed him at 2.54pm
Just as some background, I believe Tre III was friends with Tristyn and Aiden. His father (the homeowner) is Doffis Absher Jr.
He said when Tristyn came to his house, she snuck around the north side of the house to avoid the security cameras on their residence. Tre said Tristyn and Aiden left his house together at the same time. Tristyn was wearing a black and grey t-shirt with the word “PINK” across the front and black sweatpants.
Deputy Robert Maloney then interviewed Aiden at his home on Castledale Court. This was done with the consent of Aiden’s mother Crystal Smith. Aiden showed the police where he and Tristyn went after they left Tre’s house. He said they walked to North Durbin Parkway. Aiden said Tristyn then turned onto Cloisterbane Drive to go to her home. Aiden stated he walked along North Durbin Parkway and arrived home between approximately 3 to 3:30 a.m.
Police found this odd as Tre’s house was only around a 30 minute maximum walk from Aiden’s home so this didn’t match up with the length of time.
This is when Aiden changed his story. He said that while they were walking, he got into a fight with Tristyn after she grabbed his penis. He said he pushed Tristyn to the ground and she hit her head. He said that he was dizzy from smoking weed at Tre’s house and that he wasn’t sure if Tristyn got up. He said he left and walked around alone for a while. He suggested to police that Tristyn was likely hanging out with a drug dealer in his 20s. He said that Tristyn had been communicating with this adult through Snapchat.
Deputy Maloney believed at this point that a crime may have occurred and he advised Aiden of his rights. Aiden and his parents requested an attorney and they stopped providing further information.
At 3pm, Corporal Justin Ackerman of the Special Victims Unit went to try to interview two of Tristyn’s friends, Samantha and Lina Creel. They weren’t at their home but he did speak with their father Jerry Creel via the phone. Jerry said that Lina spoke with Tre earlier and she was told that Tristyn and another boy had snuck out in the middle of the night. Tre told Lina that Tristyn had been going to hang out with a 22 y/o drug dealer named Karlo.
At 3.29pm, police got some more information about Tristyn’s cell phone pings. It was tracked to an area with a 2,500 metre radius in a wooded area near the Loop Nursery. The phone signal was said to be historical and was no longer actively sending signals.
Police requested a 30 day log of Tristyn’s call and texts to see if there had been any deviation in communications and to also determine who she had been in contact with on May 8 and May 9.
At 4.29pm, Deputy Hannon got an email from SJSO Communications with a photo attachment of a Snapchat. The Snapchat message showed Aiden in the back seat of a patrol car taking a selfie while holding up a peace sign in the reflective panel of the patrol car divider. Within the Snapchat message was a text banner reading, “Hey guys has anybody seen Tristyn lately.” The message appeared to have been forwarded at least twice, and included additional text banners reading “Wtf Aiden” and “You were with her Aiden u know what happened to her.”
At this point, Deputy Hannon requested that Aiden’s cellphone be seized.
At 5.02pm, police discovered that Tristyn’s last outgoing phone call had been to her sister on May 7, 2021 at 9pm. No text records were available at that point.
All further calls to Tristyn’s phone had been incoming.
At 6.06pm, a female body was discovered in a wooded area. A man named Daniel Hart discovered her while returning to his house following a run. The body was quickly confirmed as being Tristyn.
Tristyn was lying on her right side with her head pointed to the east looking north and her feet pointed to the west. Tristyn’s right leg was bent slightly at the knee and her left leg was bent at a 90-degree angle at the knee. Tristyn’s right arm was extended with a slight bend at the elbow and her left arm was bent at the elbow with her hand touching her chin. Tristyn was wearing a black Victoria Secret shirt with the word PINK on the front, black Nike brand sweatpants and black and white slip-on Vans brand shoes.
Tristyn’s hair appeared to be matted and red in color, which appeared to be blood. Tristyn had multiple sharp force injury wounds on her hands, arms, neck and appeared to have additional sharp force trauma injuries to her back, evident by the holes in her shirt.
Crime Scene Tech Marilyn Butts found a gold toned ring, a cellphone, a $20 bill and a pink vape at the scene. Marilyn also found a possible shoe impression near the body and a powerade bottle.
Police released this statement at the time:
Police went to Aiden’s home at 6.40pm and secured it with crime scene tape, pending a search warrant. Nobody was home at the time.
At 8pm that night, police went to the Absher home and spoke with Tre’s father. The father said he did not know and had never met Tristyn, He also told police that he spoke to his son at 7am and that is when he learned that Aiden had come to the house and hung out overnight. He said that at 11am, Tre told him that Tristyn had also come over that night.
He checked the security cameras but said that his son knew the location of them and usually snuck out of the house, out of view of the cameras.
At 8.30pm, Aiden was being patted down for weapons. A blue handled folding knife was found. Deputy Maloney looked at the knife and didnt observe anything suspicious about it. Unbelievably, he turned the knife over to Aiden’s father, Jason.
After this, they asked Jason for the knife and he said he had placed it on the bumper of his truck and had forgotten to get it before driving off. He said he believed it had fallen off somewhere.
At 8.49pm, Aiden was placed in an interview room, along with his mother and father. This info is from First Coast News:
While inside the interview room, both of his parents made several comments advising Aiden not to speak about any possible involvement he may have had, and also advised Aiden the room was being recorded.
Crystal and Jason asked Aiden questions about the incident, which Aiden answered. They also advised Aiden not to speak until his attorney arrived.
Crystal then advised Aiden the girl, referring to Tristyn, was found in their neighborhood, down the “main street.” Aiden asked, “Is she good?” Crystal responded, “No, she’s dead. That’s why this is very important. It’s all on you right now.”
Aiden responded, “How is it my problem?” Crystal and Jason both advised Aiden he was the last one seen with her. Crystal and Jason both told Aiden the Snapchat he posted in the back of the police car was not a smart idea and they have been receiving threats because of it.
Jason asked Aiden if he had any scrapes or anything on him. Aiden responded, “No sir.”
Jason asked Aiden if he told police anything different, which neither he nor Crystal knew. Aiden stated he did not. Aiden then explained he told the police Tristyn probably got picked up by her drug dealer. Additionally, Aiden advised Tristyn was not going to go home and was going to find someone to stay with.
Crystal continued asking about where Tristyn went after Aiden left her. Aiden stated she probably kept walking. Jason interjected and stated Aiden pushed her down then kept walking. Jason then cut himself off and stated, “We probably shouldn’t be talking in here.”
Jason then stated “You walked away. You came straight home. You didn’t turn back around to see where she went?” Aiden shook his head no. Jason then asked, “What were you doing outside that late at night?” Aiden stated he was at Doffis’ house hanging out.
Jason asked, “Did you kiss or do anything with them?” Aiden stated he kissed Tristyn and denied doing anything further. Jason then asked, “So your DNA is going to be on her?” Aiden did not respond. Jason stated “We saw your shoes were off on the camera. Why were your shoes off?” Aiden responded “Because my feet were hurting. And those shoes give me blisters.”
Crystal asked Aiden if he came home then snuck back out again, or if he was at Doffis’ house the whole day. Aiden stated he did not sneak back out and was at Doffis’ house the whole day.
Jason advised, because of the Snapchat Aiden and Doffis took in the back of the police car, people on social media believed Aiden and Doffis raped and murdered Tristyn. Aiden did not respond.
Crystal asked Jason if Aiden was going to be kept with the police. Jason stated he did not know, there was no evidence he knew of and asked Aiden if he knew anything he did not know of. Crystal asked Aiden if Tristyn really grabbed him and he pushed her. Aiden stated Tristyn did grab him.
Jason asked if Aiden knew what happened after he pushed her, Aiden stated no.
Crystal asked if Tristyn said “Ow” or got mad. Aiden stated Tristyn yelled out his name, he pushed her, told her to “F off,” and he walked away. Aiden stated Tristyn probably walked off because she was no longer next to him and he did not look back.
Jason asked if there was anything to worry about. Aiden indicated “No.” Crystal advised Aiden their house was being searched.
Jason asked Aiden why he was damp or wet when he got home. Aiden said he was wet due to water from a cup that he spilled on himself. Jason pressed Aiden on how he was wet. Aiden stated he fell.
At 8.59pm, police requested consent from Crystal and Jason to take DNA from Aiden. Crystal requested that they wait for the attorney.
On Monday May 10, at 12.44am, police searched Aiden’s home. They found a Buck brand knife sheath; a pair of wet, white Nike shoes with blood on them; a T-shirt with blood on it; a white piece of paper with handwriting with possible blood on it; and a pair of wet blue denim jeans in a laundry basket. They also find blood and dirt on the drain in the bathroom sink next to Aiden’s bedroom. They also found 8 pocket knives.
Police also found a notebook during a search. The notebook contained “drawings of violent nature.”
The police report says the drawings had satanic themes, including a pentagram, as well as violent depictions of women.
One of the drawings appeared to show a female with red exes over her breasts and genitals, as well as what appeared to be severed arms with blood coming out, the incident report says.
At 3.30am, Aiden was arrested on the charge of second-degree murder.
On May 11, at 8.30am, Aiden appeared in court for the first time and was remanded in detention for at least 21 days.
On the same day at 1.30pm, Chief Medical Examiner Predrag Bulic determined that the cause of Tristyn’s death was sharp force trauma by stabbing. It is believed that she was stabbed 114 times. Thirty-five of the wounds were to her head and neck. The other wounds were to her torso, chest, back and upper extremities, the report states.
Aiden was originally due to be represented by an attorney named Andy Snober. On May 17, that attorney filed to withdraw from the case and the motion was granted by the court.
On May 20, a Judge approved indigency motions filed on behalf of the parents of Aiden. It was announced that Aiden would now be represented by the public defender’s office, led by St. Augustine-based attorney Joshua Mosley.
On Thursday May 27, it was announced that Aiden would now face first degree murder charge and would be charged as an adult. He was moved to an adult correctional facility in St Johns County the following day.
On Thursday June 3, Aiden plead not guilty to first-degree murder.
A few days later on June 5, Aiden’s mother Crystal was arrested on a warrant. She was charged with tampering with evidence in the case.
This info about that is from First Coast News:
Authorities say surveillance video in Aiden’s home shows Crystal going to her son’s bedroom after he was taken to the sheriff’s office, an arrest report states. Crystal is seen in the video retrieving a pair of blue jeans, scrubbing them, and then returning the pants to the bedroom, the report states.
When officers returned to the home, they confiscated a pair of damp jeans from Aiden’s bedroom, the report states. The jeans and a drain in a bathroom at the home tested positive for blood, the report states.
The arrest report says Crystal can be seen on in-home surveillance scrubbing blood off Aiden’s jeans.
Backtracking a little here but during this case, it was also revealed that Aiden’s father Jason had spent time in jaIl for battery and child abuse in 2003. He was 18 when he engaged in sexual activity with a 15 year old female at his home. He was also booked in 2016 for battery after he got into a fight at a gas station.
On July 14, documents were released with an interview with one of Aiden’s friends. The friend said Aiden talked frequently about murdering people and he said that he planned to murder someone by dragging a random person into the woods and stabbing them.
An eighth-grader who was dating Aiden also gave a statement. She said that he “frequently” talked about killing people. He always carried a knife when he was not in school, and had more than once pretended to stab her or had come up behind her and put the knife to her throat, she said.
Aiden’s girlfriend also spoke about his knives. He had given them names – Picker and Poker. The Poker knife ended up being recovered in a pond near where Tristyn’s body was found.
A friend of Tristyn’s who was interviewed by investigators told them she didn’t like Aiden and described him as a “textbook definition of what you would call a numb kid. He has no feelings towards anyone, no feelings towards himself.” She went on to say he “is the type of person you would see as a murderer. He just doesn’t care.”
On Monday July 26, Crystal pleaded not guilty to the tampering with evidence charge.
It seems like there were some legal hold ups in this case. On October 28, 2021, Aiden’s attorney Joshua Moseley filed a continuance that was granted until February 2, 2022. He appeared in court on the February date and the trial was set for November 22.
By Thursday April 5, Aiden had a new public defender, Rosemarie Peoples. On this date, the trial was set for November 7-18 2022.
Spoiler alert. The trial did not happen then. In August 2022, the trial was moved to February 2023. This postponement occurred after Aiden’s attorney said she had 40 more depositions that still needed to be taken. The extra time would allow her to complete those.
In December 2022, a St. Johns County judge denied a motion to move Aiden out of the Duval County jail and also opted not to change the venue for the murder trial.
Judge R. Lee Smith said he would revisit the decision to possibly move the trial out of the area if an impartial jury could not be found. The defence wanted the trial to be moved due to pretrial publicity. The defense team said St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick’s words carry great weight with area residents. During the course of the investigation, Hardwick called Bailey’s killing a “cold-blooded murder.”
Aiden’s lawyers also spoke about the community’s involvement from the time Tristyn was reported missing. They said the community was involved in the search for her when an Amber Alert was issued and has since held “at least 9 separate memorials, several vigils, and various remembrances…” for Tristyn, “…all with light blue or teal… decorations,” which were Tristyn’s favorite color.
Aiden’s defense team also listed more than two dozen reasons why he should be moved to a different jail.
This info is from News 4 Jax:
The document notes that Fucci “has been in a form of solitary confinement” for over 400 days, with exceptions where he was in the general population for 129 days.
It adds the Duval County jail has held Fucci in confinement, alone in a cell for 24 hours a day, saying he’s “denied access to any form of group recreation either indoor or outdoor; he is denied access to group education, he is not allowed to eat meals out of his cell; he is not permitted to participate in congregate religious services or jail programs.”
Aiden is being housed there because the jail in St Johns County does not have a juvenile wing.
The St. Johns County Sheriff argued that he did not want Aiden to change jails, saying he lost the right to choose where he’s held when he was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder.
Just as an update into Crystal’s tampering with evidence trial – that is due to take place in April 2023.
May 9, 2022 marked one year since Tristyn’s murder. Her family spoke to the media:
‘As a family, we continue to be devastated and overcome with grief at the loss of Tristyn. With time we are learning to deal with carrying this loss forward. We draw our greatest strength from our love of Tristyn and seek to honor her memory in line with her spirit. Our Saint Johns and Jacksonville community, her teammates and classmates are simply incredible in the acts of kindness and encouragement for one another. It is in the day-to-day memories and expressions of love that we best carry Tristyn forward.
We are also working on many lasting ways in which Tristyn’s legacy will support the good. In the next year we look forward to formally announcing many of these efforts. Presently we are working to align with a youth mental health program, a community focused gym that will also support defense classes and a scholarship program. Tristyn’s dedication as a teammate continues to be honored. Saint Johns Middle School Cheer Association, Infinity Allstars Cheerleading, Zone Cheer All-Stars and the Episcopal Eagles Women’s Lacrosse are each recognizing someone within their respective program with a Tristyn Bailey award.
We are deeply appreciative of the many organizations and businesses that have had events to remember Tristyn. From the Aberdeen 5K, Kendra Scott event, POA homecoming game, Outlaws play-off game, Creekside/Episcopal Women’s Lacrosse game, POA Spring concert, to the businesses and individuals that show their teal and aqua in support and spread kindness each day, we’re immensely thankful. Going beyond our local community, we have seen how Tristyn’s spirit, memory, and kindness has grown around the world, from countless aqua bows tied up in her memory to painted rocks carried and hidden around the world to share her legacy.
As we take today to reflect upon Tristyn’s memory and the light her passing has inspired, we encourage everyone to find a moment each day to feed the good wolf. Through acts of kindness and love as a community we can drive out evil together.
With Love Always,
The Bailey 7′
There was an update in this case on January 5. This info is from News 4 Jax:
The attorney representing Aiden Fucci, the teenager charged with murder in the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, has filed another motion in his pending case, and is asking that the aim of the motion remain confidential.
Documents obtained Friday by News4JAX show that the motion was filed Wednesday. The St. Johns County Clerk of Courts on Thursday informed the lawyer that the motion does not meet the requirements of confidentiality and gave the attorney 10 days to seek a hearing on the matter.
Notably, there was a confidential filing last year and that remains under seal.
Fucci’s trial remains scheduled for Feb 6. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 20.