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

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

Investigators say Tristyn Bailey's cause of death was sharp force trauma-- or stabbing. During a search of Aiden Fucci's home-- investigators say they found "multiple items" of evidence.
Investigators say Tristyn Bailey's cause of death was sharp force trauma-- or stabbing. During a search of Aiden Fucci's home-- investigators say they found "multiple items" of evidence.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick said 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey’s killing was “not an accident,” calling her death a “cold-blooded murder.”

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

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 wanna 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.

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

The sheriff said determining a motive is not clear-cut yet, so the work for detectives continues.

”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.