‘We can drive out evil together’: Tristyn Bailey’s family carrying teen’s memory forward with love

It’s been nearly a year since Tristyn Bailey was murdered in a heinous act of violence that sent shock waves through our community.

RELATED: Tristyn Bailey’s former cheer coaches remember her as a hard worker and kind friend

The 13-year-old was found dead in a remote wooded area at the end of a cul-de-sac near her house in St. Johns County on Mother’s Day. Her death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, who said the teen died of “force trauma by stabbing.” R.J. Larizza, state attorney for Florida’s Seventh Judicial Circuit, said Bailey was stabbed 114 times.

Aiden Fucci, now 15, a classmate of Bailey’s at Patriot Oaks Academy, is the only suspect in the case. His murder trial is expected to begin in the fall.

But Tristyn’s family does not want her story to be defined by her final moments. Instead, they are celebrating the “carefree” and “larger-than-life” cheerleading captain for the goodness she continues to inspire.

Tristyn, along with her parents and four siblings, called themselves the “The Bailey 7″ — a tradition that continues even now.

Tristyn’s family shared the following statement Thursday ahead of the 1-year anniversary of her passing

“As a family, we continue to be devastated and overcome with grief at the loss of Tristyn. With time we are learning to deal with carrying this loss forward. We draw our greatest strength from our love of Tristyn and seek to honor her memory in line with her spirit. Our Saint Johns and Jacksonville community, her teammates, and classmates are simply incredible in the acts of kindness and encouragement for one another. It is in the day-to-day memories and expressions of love that we best carry Tristyn forward.”

“We are also working on many lasting ways in which Tristyn’s legacy will support the good. In the next year, we look forward to formally announcing many of these efforts. Presently we are working to align with a youth mental health program, a community-focused gym that will also support defense classes, and a scholarship program. Tristyn’s dedication as a teammate continues to be honored. Saint Johns Middle School Cheer Association, Infinity AllStars Cheerleading, Zone Cheer All-Stars, and the Episcopal Eagles Women’s Lacrosse are each recognizing someone within their respective program with a Tristyn Bailey award.”

“We are deeply appreciative of the many organizations and businesses that have had events to remember Tristyn. From the Aberdeen 5K, Kendra Scott event, POA homecoming game, Outlaws play-off game, Creekside/Episcopal Women’s Lacrosse game, POA Spring concert, to the businesses and individuals that show their teal and aqua in support and spread kindness each day, we’re immensely thankful. Going beyond our local community, we have seen how Tristyn’s spirit, memory, and kindness have grown around the world, from countless aqua bows tied up in her memory to painted rocks carried and hidden around the world to share her legacy.”

“As we take today to reflect upon Tristyn’s memory and the light her passing has inspired, we encourage everyone to find a moment each day to feed the good wolf. Through acts of kindness and love as a community, we can drive out evil together.”

With Love Always,

The Bailey 7″

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