ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – As the investigation into 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey’s murder continues, social media trolls continue to taunt her family and friends.
Some social media accounts have posted troubling messages, claiming to be involved in her death, even though St. Johns County detectives say her schoolmate 14-year-old Aiden Fucci is the only person suspected in the case.
As News4Jax previously reported, numerous online accounts continue to post disturbing comments about Bailey’s death, with some users claiming to be involved. The pages, which appear to be run by teens, make false claims, taunt Bailey’s family and friends and even feature a picture of what is claimed to be the murder weapon.
News4Jax is not showing the pages due to their graphic and potentially harmful content. The comments garnered thousands of negative responses from Bailey’s friends and the community as a whole.
“I had no clue [about the case],” said Levi Whitehouse, a 15-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee, whose pictures are being used on the pages. Whitehouse said the accounts even used a picture of him standing by his friend’s tombstone.
He said these internet bullies are framing him, claiming he’s involved in the murder.
Whitehouse’s face has been plastered on social media, where the pictures and videos have been viewed millions of times — all, he said, without his permission. Now, his father said, the Whitehouse family is receiving death threats.
“I pray for the family for having to go through all this mess, but I promise we are not involved in this,” Levi’s father, Steve Whitehouse, told News4Jax on Friday. “And if there’s anything we can do to get to the bottom of it, I’ll do whatever we need to do 155 percent.”
The Whitehouse family said they had no connection to the case and Levi claims he’s never even been to Florida. They said they hadn’t heard of the case before Levi’s friends told him his face was being used. However, Levi is active with online video games, as was Fucci.
Whitehouse thinks other gamers could have lifted his identity as a horrible prank.
The teen’s family hopes the country knows they have nothing to do with these mean and potentially criminal comments as they try to clear their names while praying for Bailey’s loved ones.
“We all are scared for our safety,” Steve Whitehouse said. “As a matter fact, we’re moving on account of all this. I don’t know it’s going to happen amongst all this mess.”
The Whitehouse family asked News4Jax to put them in touch with detectives at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators have said they’re looking into the matter.
If the people behind the comments are caught, it’s possible under Florida law that they could be charged with interfering with a police investigation or cyberbullying, which can be a felony.