On May 9, 2021, 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey was reported missing, and no one expected what happened next. One of her fellow classmates, Aiden Fucci, 14, is now being tried as an adult for her murder. He reportedly stabbed her 114 times, but what could have caused this to happen? Why did he have so much anger towards her?
As the case develops, we will investigate what led up to the horrific murder of Tristyn, the arrest of Fucci, and new evidence that continues to be presented for his trial. His friends knew he had violent tendencies, but no one could have guessed that he would commit such a heinous crime. There was clearly much more to the story.
While families all over were celebrating Mother’s Day on May 9, 2021, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office announced it was searching for a missing 13-year-old named Tristyn Bailey. Her family reported her missing that morning as she was last seen the night before. A missing child alert was issued, but there was no indication that she was abducted.
The night before she went missing, Tristyn went out to dinner with her family and visited her sister. Later that night, Tristyn’s sister saw her video chatting with someone around midnight in the garage. That was the last time her family saw her alive because she left the house to visit a friend around 12:30 a.m.
Tristyn was a competitive cheerleader with unmatched determination. She competed in a gym where her mom was a former coach. Tristyn’s parents said she was always teaching herself new tricks and would give 100 percent to achieve her goals. Everyone said she lit up any room she walked into and was a star since birth.
At her memorial service, people talked about how loyal and loving Tristyn was. The service was packed with educators, religious leaders, friends, and family, all of whom were there to share how much light Tristyn brought to this world and how much she would be missed. Although the details of her murder were coming to light, there was nothing but love in that room.
Tristyn was a sweet seventh-grader from St. Johns, Florida, who is remembered as a student, athlete, friend, daughter, and sister. She was a regular teenager who loved the color aqua and cheerleading. She had a bright and big personality, and people said she was a natural leader. She was always down to do whatever would help unite her team.
After the news of her death, her cheer gym posted about her with lots of comments about how bubbly and friendly she was. So many people in her community will miss her because she could make any bad situation better. Unfortunately, her life was cut short by another teenager who showed all the signs of being a killer.
On the morning of May 9, Tristyn’s siblings went to wake her up to make Mother’s Day breakfast and discovered she was missing. The family searched the immediate area around their house but couldn’t find her. After looking around the area, Tristyn’s mom, Stacy, frantically called the police to tell them her daughter was missing.
Her phone wasn’t home, and when officers ordered a “ping,” they brought in Doffis “Tre” Absher III for questioning as she was last at his house. Tre told officers that Tristyn and Aiden Fucci left his house together after hanging out. It was clear that Fucci was the last to see her, so officers went to his house next.
When investigators questioned Fucci at his home, he showed Deputy Robert Maloney where he and Tristyn went after leaving Tre’s house. He said they went on a walk, and Tristyn headed towards her home. Fucci added that he walked home and arrived around 3 a.m. However, this wasn’t adding up to Maloney, so he asked Fucci to clarify the timeline.
It seemed strange that it would take Fucci two hours to walk a little over a mile from Tre’s house, and this is where the story started to change. Fucci then claimed he and Tristyn continued walking and got into a fight, so he pushed her down, which caused her to hit her head. After the incident, he walked around before going home.
As Fucci changed his story, he claimed he left Tristyn on the ground, so he wasn’t sure if she got up. They had been smoking weed at Tre’s house, so she could have been dizzy. Fucci claimed Tristyn could be with the drug dealer she talked to on Snapchat who was in his 20s or on a path where local teens use drugs.
Maloney believed Fucci was involved in her disappearance based on his mixed-up statements, and Fucci’s parents requested an attorney. The police called some of Tristyn’s friends, and they said she was supposed to hang out with a 22-year-old drug dealer named “Karlo.” None of this made sense because they couldn’t find this person.
As Deputies were going through Tristyn’s phone records, they received an email with a screenshot of a Snapchat message. It was a picture of Fucci in the back of a patrol car taking a selfie while holding up a peace sign with a text banner that said, “Hey guys has anyone seen Tristyn lately?”
The message was forwarded a few times, and other people added text banners that said, “WTF, Aiden,” and “You were with her, Aiden, you know what happened to her.” Police then took Aiden’s phone and searched for evidence.
Later in the evening on May 9, deputies found a body believed to be Tristyn’s. She was found in a wooded area not too far from her home stabbed to death. The sheriff’s said it would be a long and complex investigation, and they didn’t have any suspects when they discovered her. It didn’t look like anyone tried to hide her, though.
The medical examiner determined that she fought until the very end. Her arms and hands had 49 defensive stab wounds with a total of 114 wounds all over her body. Examiners also noted that the word “karma” and a smiley face were drawn on Tristyn’s body, but they couldn’t tell if that happened before or after her death.
Fucci was taken into an interrogation room with his parents after police found a knife in his pocket. The officer told Fucci Tristyn was found in their neighborhood, and he asked, “Is she good?” They said, “No, she’s dead. That’s why this is very important. It’s all on you right now.”
When Fucci heard this, he asked, “How is it my problem?” He appeared not to care at all, even though it was clear that he was the last one with her. He continued to change his story about where he went after he claimed to leave Tristyn because she kissed him, and he pushed her away.
Everyone always said Fucci was numb as a child because he never showed emotion about anything. People who knew him from school said he was the type of kid who would become a murderer. Therefore, when he was being interviewed as a suspect in the murder case, most people weren’t surprised that he didn’t care.
After the police told him they found Tristyn’s body, Fucci’s parents asked him to find a story and stick with it. They knew he didn’t care, and they wanted to protect their child. His parents asked him if he told the detectives the entire story, and he brushed them off.
Within a month of discovering Tristyn’s body, Fucci’s close friend told police that he said he wanted to drag a random person into the woods and kill them. Fucci would draw graphic pictures of mutilated bodies, and people knew about this but didn’t get him any help. He also told someone he heard voices that told him to kill.
Although he knew something was wrong with him, Fucci didn’t reach out for help. He was a disturbed child, and his parents didn’t get him treatment. However, they were willing to cover up evidence to help him after he went too far and killed Tristyn.
When Fucci was taken in for questioning, his mother went into his room and found the jeans Fucci was wearing when he killed Tristyn. She took them to the laundry room to scrub the blood out of them, knowing she had all the evidence the police needed to convict her son, yet she covered it up.
However, the cameras in their house captured her doing this, so she screwed herself over. The police also found a knife, bloody shoes, and a bloody shirt. His mom later had to turn herself in because there was a warrant for her arrest for destroying evidence.
When Fucci’s parents sat with him in the police interrogation room he wouldn’t even tell them the correct story. He paraphrased his previous conversations with police and when his father asked if his DNA would be found on Tristyn, Fucci didn’t respond. He also didn’t respond when his father said people on social media thought he was the killer.
After the conversation, a police officer came in to get DNA samples from Fucci’s nails and examine him for marks, but his parents asked for an attorney. Fucci’s parents kept asking if there would be anything on his clothes or if he had marks, and Fucci didn’t care what would happen or the repercussions.
As Fucci and his parents talked in the interrogation room, the police listened, and they weren’t buying anything the family talked about. While Fucci’s mom tried to convince him he was wearing other pants that night, his father tried to get him to stick with a story.
Fucci and his parents then talked with his attorney, and it left them in tears. Obviously, the evidence stacked up against Fucci. His parents continued to try to convince themselves that drugs or something else could have made him do something so horrible, but their son was guilty.
A neighbor’s security camera caught Tristyn and Fucci walking together, and an hour later, it showed one person running in the opposite direction. The video clip backed up the arrest warrant for Fucci, and helped police bring him into custody. Once they had him, the evidence continued to build.
The police found Tristyn’s blood on Fucci’s clothes. They also found a knife that was used to stab her in his room, and the tip of another knife was found in Tristyn’s body. The sheer force he had to use to stab her so many times broke one of his knives, and he had to use another.
Among new evidence in the case against Fucci, prosecutors handed over jail calls made by Antuan Scott, a fellow inmate where Fucci is being held. Although the content of the calls hasn’t been released yet, it isn’t uncommon for inmates to confide in each other and make confessions.
Scott will be one of over 250 witnesses in the case. Prosecutors also handed over a 911 call recording related to the case, and a fire department incident report. His trial was supposed to begin on September 1, 2021; however, the trial has been delayed due to his behavior.
Although Fucci is just 14 years old, the State Attorney decided to charge Fucci as an adult due to the violent nature of the crime. He stabbed her 114 times, and she fought for her life, but he didn’t stop. While the night might have started with hanging out as children, it didn’t end that way.
Initially, he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, but as the details of the case unfolded, it was clear this was planned and deliberate. Fucci knew what he was doing, and now he could face life in prison. However, he could be eligible for a review when he is 25 years old due to his age.
Before his pre-trial hearing was changed to October, Fucci appeared on a video from the Duval County jail wearing an orange jumpsuit and a confused expression. He appeared frightened and confused, and a guard had to hand him the phone receiver. Fucci then started rocking back and forth, muttering to himself.
At one point in the video, Fucci was heard saying, “Please don’t let the demons take my soul. The demons are going to take my soul away.” He then asked, “What’s going on? Why am I here? I just want to talk to my mom and dad. What’s going on? What’s going on?” His lawyer then had the trial delayed.
A forensic psychologist not associated with the case reviewed the footage and said he wouldn’t be surprised if Fucci receives a mental competency evaluation. They didn’t know if he was faking mental illness to postpone his case or if something was really happening with him. However, it seemed genuine.
Fucci had a notebook filled with Satanic drawings, and his ex-girlfriend said he would talk about hearing voices. His behavior will likely play a part in his trial. This evaluation can delay a case for several months. Right now, he will be tried as an adult for first-degree murder.
Although the trial has been delayed, Tristyn’s family knows it will be a long and challenging process, but they are confident in the strength and thoroughness of the investigation. They call themselves the Bailey 7, and they feel that everything will be appropriately presented to the jury when the time comes.
Tristyn’s family thanked the detectives and the State Attorney’s office for their hard work to get justice for their daughter. There have been numerous vigils and an outpouring of support from Tristyn’s community, and everyone wants to see Fucci receive an appropriate sentence for his heinous crime.
While Fucci has a lot of evidence against him, he is currently in jail, awaiting his trial. Due to factors mentioned previously, the trial has been delayed until there is a mental evaluation conducted. Some evidence has yet to be released to the public before the trial begins.
As we continue to learn new information, we will update you. We know he has already decided to plead not guilty, but that most likely won’t work for him, considering the police have DNA evidence connecting him to Tristyn’s murder. It must be hard for her parents to wait for justice for their innocent daughter.
Updates will continue as the case develops.
For our next story, we are looking at the scandalous homicide case involving a love triangle that captured the attention of the Knoxville community and beyond. The outcome of the trial and his conviction stunned a lot of people.