Teen charged with murder after death of 13-year-old Florida girl

·2 min read

Authorities in Florida arrested and charged a 14-year-old boy with murder a day after the disappearance and death of a 13-year-old girl.

The parents of Tristyn Bailey, a student and cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy in St. Johns, Florida, reported their daughter missing Sunday morning after she failed to return home the night before.

13-year-old Tristyn Bailey. (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office / via Twitter)
13-year-old Tristyn Bailey. (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office / via Twitter)

Bailey was last seen at 1:15 a.m. Sunday near the Durbin Amenity Center, according to post announcing the missing person from the St Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Throughout Sunday, members of the community, classmates and Bailey's cheer squad searched for her, NBC News affiliate WTLV reported.

But shortly before sundown, St Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick announced that Bailey's body had been found in a wooded area.

Hardwick announced Monday the arrest of a 14-year-old male suspect, whom NBC News is not naming because of his minor status, on a single charge of second-degree murder.

"That is the only suspect that has to do with the death of Tristyn," Hardwick said, adding that the suspect and victim had attended school together. He would not say whether they were currently classmates.

The suspect had a preliminary detention hearing Tuesday via Zoom at the Volusia County Regional Detention Center. His parents appeared during the proceeding. While his father was stoic, the suspect's mom became teary-eyed as her son appeared on the screen and was read his rights. The judge ordered the suspect to remain held for 21 days or until further order by the court.

"I would tell you this: This is a long process, we are in the very early stages of this," Hardwick said.

A spokesperson for Patriot Oaks Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bryan Shorstein, a spokesperson for the Florida state attorney, said the suspect did not have an attorney as of Monday afternoon.