JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The community in Northwest St. Johns County is grieving the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey and also showing support for her family.
The community reaction to Bailey’s death has been shown in two distinct colors: aqua and white.
There was a push on social media for neighbors and people in the community to tie aqua ribbons around their mailboxes, as they heard it was Bailey’s favorite color.
And participants were encouraged to wear white to several vigils and events planned Monday night. There is a prayer circle in honor of Bailey planned from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Infinity Allstars. The Bartram Bears will hold a candlelight vigil and prayer in remembrance of Bailey at 8 p.m. at Rivertown Fields. Several neighbors are also planning to hold a candlelight vigil in Bailey’s memory at 8:30 p.m. at the South Durbin Crossing Amenity Center.
Students at Patriot Oaks Academy and neighboring Durbin Creek Elementary were also asked to wear white to school on Monday. Durban Creek sent a statement Sunday night saying, “We are devastated for the family of Tristyn Bailey. We are asking all our Explorers to wear white tomorrow in observance #onecommunity.”
Nearby Freedom Crossing Academy also sent out a statement:
Bailey was an athlete on two different cheer squads. Based on her Instagram posts, it appears she was in a recent competition. Friends posted: “I’m so sorry Tristyn, I’d do anything to see you again. I’m so sorry I love you so much,” and “taken way too soon, fly high beautiful angel.”
Local business owner Chirag Patel said that as a parent himself, he’s devastated for the family.
“I just cannot imagine what they are feeling,” Patel said. “My heart goes out to them and every other parent in this community and everywhere else.”
Several parents told News4Jax they’ve had to engage in tough conversations with their children as news of Bailey’s death spread around her K-8 school.
Local psychiatrist Dr. Dan Weinberg said it’s important for parents to have those conversations with their young children in the wake of a tragedy.
“The most important message I want to give is ‘talk to your kids,’” Weinberg said. “Moving forward, keep an eye on your kids. Watch how they’re sleeping, watch how they’re eating, if they start acting out in school, if they’re not themselves, that may be a sign that maybe something else is going on.”
Weinberg has a daughter attending the same school Bailey did -- and he decided to offer a free, group counseling-and-guidance session for parents on how to deal with trauma.
As for the investigation, the community played a significant role in searching for Bailey. According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, her body was found in the woods by a man searching his neighborhood.
St. Johns County does have a partnership with Ring, which helps neighbors report crime in their neighborhoods. This could help investigators piece Bailey’s movements together.
What Ring can provide:
- Use the Neighbors app
- Customize the area you want to receive notifications for
- Receive real-time alerts from your neighbors, law enforcement and the Ring team that inform of crime and safety alerts as they happen.
- View local crime and safety posts via a live feed
- Share text updates, photos and videos taken on any device, including Ring’s home security devices.
Sheriff Robert Hardwick said 14-year-old Aiden Fucci is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Bailey’s death.