A COMMUNITY was stricken with grief when a teenage girl was found dead less than a mile away from her home.
Before Aiden Fucci was sentenced to life in prison for Tristyn Bailey's homicide, prosecutors attempted to uncover his motive.
Why did Aiden Fucci kill Tristyn Bailey?
On May 9, 2021, Tristyn Bailey was reported missing from her home.
The following Monday, Tristyn's classmate Aiden Fucci was arrested for her murder.
On March 24, 2023, Fucci was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Tristyn.
Before Fucci's trial went underway, he shared a potentially incriminating picture via Snapchat on the day of his arrest.
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The photo showed a male in the back of the police vehicle, holding up a peace sign alongside the caption: “Hey guys has anybody (sic) seen Tristyn lately”.
The Sun confirmed that it has been probed by police as part of their investigation.
Prior to Fucci’s first court appearance, Sheriff Robert Hardwick told WOKV that the image shows he is “proud of what he did.”
However, early indications suggested that he was not known to have had any prior grievances with Bailey.
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What did Florida attorney R.J. Larizza say about his apparent motive?
On May 27, 2021, Florida attorney R.J. Larizza announced that prosecutors would be charging Fucci as an adult on first-degree murder.
He described how Fucci had told friends that he was going to kill someone within the next 30 days, leading to accusations that the act was premeditated.
According to Larizza, the 16-year-old specifically detailed that he would "take someone into the woods and stab them."
On the night of Tristyn's death, the pair were believed to have been hanging out with a few mutual friends, before they were eventually left alone together.
However, prosecutors currently say there is no evidence to suggest that Fucci specifically targeted Tristyn beforehand.
Larizza said: "This could just be a case of wrong place, wrong time."
None of the others who were with the pair the night Tristyn died are suspected of wrongdoing.
But the prosecutor voiced frustration that Fucci's alleged plans to commit homicide were "not taken seriously" when he confessed them to "several" of his peers.
"Could this have been prevented? We can't be sure," he said, adding that the murder should serve as a cautionary tale to parents that they "need to know what your kids are doing and saying."
Larizza refused to disclose whether the killing was sexually motivated, or whether Tristyn had been sexually assaulted during the murder.
In August 2021, Florida prosecutors released several new pieces of video evidence, including surveillance footage, a clip from inside Fucci’s home and several posts uploaded to Snapchat.
The Snapchat video shows Fucci with a friend in the back of a patrol car. The two both mention "Tristyn."
In another video, Florida prosecutors allege that Fucci is seen walking with Tristyn, 13, the night of her death and then running alone later that same night.
The video of Tristyn and Fucci allegedly walking toward a wooded area in their neighborhood after midnight came from a neighbor’s surveillance camera, according to The Daily Mail.
Another shocking clip released by the State Attorney's Office shows what investigators allege is Fucci's mother, Crystal Smith, washing blood off her son's jeans.
She allegedly washed the pants while deputies were interviewing her son.
After the jeans and a drain in his home tested positive for blood, Smith was charged with evidence tampering in connection with Bailey's death.
How many times was Tristyn Bailey stabbed?
According to Larizza’s announcement, Tristyn was stabbed 114 times, with 49 of those wounds sustained to her hands and arms.
Larizza described those wounds as "defensive", and said that the 13-year-old suffered them as she "fought for her life."
Investigators recovered what they believed to be the murder weapon, a folding buck knife, in a pond near to Tristyn's body.
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Larizza said that the blade was "missing a tip", which medical examiners found lodged in Tristyn's scalp.
He added that the knife found “could have multiple uses” including hunting.
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