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'Those thoughts never go away': Former K9 handler reflects on previous searches of missing children

Tristyn Bailey's body was found in St. Johns County on Sunday, hours after she was reported missing. Aiden Fucci, 14, is charged with her death.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The disappearance and discovery of Tristyn Bailey bring back unfortunate and unforgettable memories for Charlie Wilkie.

"Those thoughts never go away," he told First Coast News.

The former Jacksonville Sheriff's K9 handler found the body of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle who was kidnapped and murdered in 2013.

Two years later, 21-month-old Lonzie Barton's body was found in Jacksonville's southside after he was reported missing. 

"There is always going to be a reminder. There's always going to be the anniversary of when you located them," Wilkie explained.

He received grief counseling and expects the same for those involved in Bailey's search.  

Wilkie said detectives will go through social media accounts to determine a possible motive, but the investigation won't stop there.

"Unfortunately it's become so commonplace anymore that's what we naturally assume when we first hear a young teenager, especially a young female going missing," Wilkie explained. "Sometimes we naturally assume that they've been a chat line or something."

Credit: WTLV

Dive teams were seen at a pond in Durbin Crossing where Bailey's body was found nearby and Wilkie says their search was deliberate and detailed.  

"I've seen how they've quadrant off the pond and they are literally armed in arm about going a grid search if you will of the entire location of the pond," Wilkie said.

He's seen the tragic side of these outcomes and like many, has questions about what happened.  

"The big question for everybody is: 'Why?" Wilkie asked. "You just can't understand why."

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