Medical examiner: Florida teen was fatally stabbed; 13-year-old suspect makes first court appearance

The Florida teen who was found dead this week was fatally stabbed, the medical examiner announced Tuesday.

According to the chief medical examiner, 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey’s death was a homicide caused by "sharp force trauma by stabbing." The details were announced by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office in a news release.

The suspect, 14-year-old Aiden Fucci, made his first appearance in court, via a Zoom call which his parents were also on. A judge ordered him held on a second-degree murder charge for 21 days in the death of Bailey. 

State attorney's officials told the judge they would likely have a decision by then on whether he will be tried as an adult.

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Classmates, friends and family members gathered for a candlelight vigil in honor of a 13-year-old cheerleader whose body was found in the northeast Florida woods. Authorities said her community pointed to a 14-year-old neighbor in her death.

Tristyn was last seen early Sunday morning at the community center in the Durbin Crossing community south of Jacksonville. The two teens lived in the neighborhood and attended nearby Patriot Oaks Academy, where Tristyn was a cheerleader.

Tanya White, one of her cheer coaches, remembered the teen's "beautiful smile and presence."

"She always was the first to hug me," White said at Monday night's vigil. "She was officially my favorite."

Flowers and notes to Tristyn and her family were left outside the community center where she was last seen.

Her parents reported her missing around 10 a.m. on Sunday and a neighbor found Tristyn's body in a heavily wooded area that evening, St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick said during a news conference on Monday afternoon. Hours later, investigators made an arrest.

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"The community helped us solve this case," Hardwick said, offering few other details about what led them to arrest the teen.

Dive teams searched a lake on Monday, near where her body was found, Jacksonville's FirstCoast News reported. A crime scene truck also was seen at the home of the teen charged with killing her.

"Based on the discovery of the body and admissions during questioning, we refocused our investigative efforts," the sheriff's office said in a statement."We were able to obtain numerous search warrants which led to the location of multiple items of evidentiary value at the suspect's home."

The sheriff said Monday that a decision has not yet been made on whether Fucci will be charged as an adult.