ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — UPDATE: Aiden Fucci's parents granted indigent status; public defense team to represent accused killer of Tristyn Bailey
One week ago, in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, May 9, Tristyn Bailey was last seen alive at the Durbin Amenity Center. By 10 a.m., she had been reported missing.
Tristyn was a 7th-grade student at Patriot Oaks Academy in St. Augustine. She lived in a quiet area of St. Johns County. She was a beloved member of the First Coast cheerleading community. She had already won awards and her coaches recognized her as a leader with a dedicated work ethic and lively personality.
On that Sunday afternoon, about 12 hours after she had last been seen, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office sent out a notice on social media saying Tristyn was missing, urging people to keep an eye out for her. However, later in the evening, her body was found in a wooded area near a retention pond in her Durbin neighborhood.
On Monday, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office held a press conference announcing that 14-year-old Aiden Fucci had been arrested and charged with Tristyn's murder. Fucci attended Patriot Oaks Academy with Tristyn and lived in the same neighborhood. Classmates also reported Tristyn and Aiden were friends.
Yet, by Monday evening, there were still many questions including the cause of death and how exactly Fucci was linked to the crime. However, the sheriff's office asked for the time being for the focus to be on mourning the loss of Tristyn and providing comfort for her family.
As the family asked for privacy and the sheriff's office urged patience in the case, tributes to Tristyn poured in from all over the First Coast. Two candlelight vigils were held that Monday night, with scores of people offering prayers and shedding tears for the heartbroken tight-knit community.
However, as people grieved the tragedy, troubling posts made their way onto social media, adding more confusion and, in some cases, hurt to an already painful case. Some posts spread misinformation, while others seemed to blame Tristyn for what happened or called for Fucci's immediate release.
In response, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office identified several social media pages they said were responsible for many of the harmful posts. In many cases, those social media accounts had "nothing to do with this case," the sheriff's office said.
On Tuesday morning, less than 48 hours after Tristyn was first reported missing, Fucci appeared for his initial court hearing, where he was read the charge of second-degree murder and his rights. Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger then ordered Fucci to remain in the juvenile detention center for at least 21 days or until his detention is extended by the court.
Following Fucci's court appearance, the sheriff's office announced that Tristyn had been stabbed to death. It was later revealed the 13-year-old girl had been stabbed more than once, the state attorney's office confirmed.
The sheriff's office also noted that Tristyn had been found with her clothes on and there was no indication that she had been sexually assaulted, despite rumors saying she had.
Later on Tuesday, First Coast News obtained the arrest report for Fucci, giving the first insight into how investigators linked the 14-year-old to Tristyn's death.
The report says Fucci had changed his story multiple times and made several "admissions" when investigators were interviewing him.
Deputies were able to get ahold of a security video that showed two teens walking east on Saddlestone Drive around 1:45 a.m., the arrest report says. The video later showed just one person walking west around 3:27 a.m. holding a pair of shoes, according to the report.
After acquiring a search warrant, investigators found an outfit consistent with what was captured on the video, the report says. Traces of blood were also found on his clothes.
Shortly after his arrest, a social media post, later verified to have been made by Fucci, showed the boy posing in the back of a sheriff's office vehicle, discussing Tristyn's disappearance. The post may now be considered evidence, according to the sheriff's office.
Yet the post sparked outrage as to why he was allowed to have his phone in the patrol car on the morning of Tristyn's disappearance. But it was not the only controversy surrounding Fucci.
Since his arrest, many people have called for Fucci to be charged as an adult and face first-degree murder charges. Florida law leaves it up to the state attorney's office to decide if children are tried as an adult under discretionary criteria. Murder does meet the criteria for him to be charged as an adult.
The state attorney's office told First Coast News that had been bombarded with phone calls urging the office to charge Fucci as an adult. Furthermore, an online petition on Charge.org has more than 600,000 signatures demanding Fucci to be charged as an adult.
It is unclear if he will be charged as an adult as of Sunday.
The sheriff's office also said during their Monday press conference they will work with the state attorney's office to determine if they will push for first-degree murder charges against Fucci.
A GoFundMe page is available for people wishing to help Tristyn Bailey's family.
Photos: Remembering Tristyn Bailey, St. Johns County teen killed over the weekend