Tristyn Bailey's body was found in a remote wooded area on Sunday night, and her classmate has been charged with second-degree murder

By Steve Helling
May 11, 2021 04:08 PM
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Tristyn Bailey
Credit: Courtesy Tanya White

The teenage boy accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey posted a selfie about her on Snapchat from the back of a police car.

The 14-year-old suspect — whom PEOPLE is not identifying because he is a minor — allegedly took a selfie in the back of a patrol car. He was displaying a peace sign and captioned the photo, "Hey guys has anybody seen Tristyn lately?" A sheriff's spokesperson confirms the boy in the photo is the suspect.

Tristyn was last seen shortly after midnight on Sunday in her neighborhood in St. John's County, Fla. She was found dead in a remote wooded area at about 6 p.m. by a local resident after authorities had put out a missing person alert.

Authorities have not released her cause of death or a possible motive in her killing.

The teen suspect was arrested on Monday in connection with the case, Sheriff Robert Hardwick announced during a press conference.

"We have a suspect arrested and, unfortunately, a 13-year-old girl dead," Hardwick told reporters.

Tristyn Bailey
Tristyn Bailey
| Credit: gofundme

The teen suspect is currently being held on one count of second-degree murder by the Department of Juvenile Justice. "That's actually a decision we made collectively ... with the State Attorney's Office," Hardwick told reporters. "We can always increase the charge."

A spokesperson for the 7th Circuit State Attorney's Office tells PEOPLE that the office has not yet determined if he will be charged as an adult.

In a Tuesday morning detention hearing held via Zoom, a judge ordered the suspect be held in juvenile custody for at least 21 days. The boy did not speak in court, and his attorney did not immediately return a message for comment.

The suspect has not yet entered a plea.

Tristyn and the suspect both attended Patriot Oaks Academy, a public K-8 school about a mile from where Tristyn went missing.

Authorities say that the investigation is ongoing.

In the wake of Tristyn's death, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up in support of her family. As of Tuesday afternoon, it has raised more than $14,000 toward its $20,000 goal.