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Corpse of Missing Florida Girl, 13, Found; juvenile suspect in custody, says sheriff


The body of a missing 13-year-old Florida girl was found hours after her family reported her missing Sunday, and a teenage boy was detained in connection with her murder, a county sheriff said.

Investigators uniquely identified the body as Tristyn Bailey, who was found dead in a wooded area in the dense Durbin Crossing community around 6 p.m. on Sunday, St. Johns County’s sheriff Rob Hardwick said at a news conference Monday morning.

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Hardwick said a 14-year-old suspect, whom Fox News does not name because of his age, has been taken into custody and charged with second degree murder in Bailey’s death. He said more charges can be added as the investigation continues.

Tristyn Bailey was found dead in a wooded area Sunday after her family reported her missing.

Tristyn Bailey was found dead in a wooded area Sunday after her family reported her missing.
(St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff said the investigation was still in its early stages but revealed that Bailey and the suspect grew up together in the neighborhood and both attended the same school.

The 13-year-old was last seen by family members in their home around midnight on Saturday, investigators said earlier. Her family reported her missing at around 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Police and local residents immediately began an hour-long search for Bailey. Hardwick said a neighborhood resident who helped with the search discovered her clothed body in the woods.

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Hardwick commended the community for coming together to find Bailey and identify the suspect.

“The community helped us solve this case,” said the sheriff. “When I say you went to work, you went to work.”

No cause of death was released immediately. A medical examiner performed an autopsy.

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