"Our baby Bailey was taken far too soon from us," says Britney Bailey Russell, the sister of Tristyn Bailey

By Steve Helling
May 13, 2021 02:07 PM
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Tristyn Bailey
Tristyn Bailey
| Credit: Courtesy Tanya White

For the friends and family of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, her violent death is devastating and incomprehensible.

"I've been asked by so many, 'what can we do to help' and honestly, nothing will bring her back so our answers have just been open air," the slain cheerleader's sister, Britney Bailey Russell, wrote in a public Facebook post.

"I also recognize everyone else needs to grieve through this process like us," she continued, posting a link on a GoFundMe page that a friend set up for her family. "Our family has asked for nothing, but we have decided with the money that is given, we are going to use it to make memorials for Tristyn. Her name WILL live on because our baby Bailey was taken far too soon from us."

Tristyn vanished early Sunday morning. She was found dead later that day in a remote wooded area. She died of "force trauma by stabbing" and her cause of death was ruled by the medical examiner as a homicide, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday.

Authorities have arrested a 14-year-old classmate of Tristyn's on second-degree murder charges. The suspect — whom PEOPLE is not identifying because he is a minor and it is not known whether he will be charged as an adult — is being held without bond in a juvenile detention facility.

He has not yet entered a plea, and his attorney hasn't returned PEOPLE's calls for comment

According to an arrest report obtained by First Coast News, the teenage suspect told the police several contradicting stories while he was being questioned. The arrest report alleges he made several "admissions" of guilt.

Officers executed a search warrant on the suspect's home, and say some clothing items have tested positive for the presence of blood.

Tristyn Bailey
Tristyn Bailey
| Credit: sjso

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As the case against the suspect progresses, Tristyn's family is struggling to comprehend their sudden loss.

"The gifts, prayers, thoughts, messages, donations, hugs and memories shared have been overwhelming," Britney Bailey Russell continued in her Facebook post. "We cannot believe the boundless outcry of support for Tristyn and our family. She DESERVES this and we all know our center of attention queen is looking down freaking out about her MILLIONS of views. We love you so much, it hurts. Aqua Bows forever."