14-year-old arrested for murder after missing 13-year-old Florida girl found dead

National / World

Courtesy: Florida Department of Law Enforcement

ST JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A 14-year-old has been arrested after the body of a missing 13-year-old girl was found in northeast Florida, according to deputies.

During a Monday morning news conference, deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the body found in a wooded area Sunday evening was 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, who had been reported missing earlier in the day.

Deputies also announced Monday they had arrested a 14-year-old suspect and charged him with second-degree murder. According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect attended the same school as Bailey.

“I’m not going to say they were classmates, we have not verified that,” St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick said Monday. “Again, trying to give respect to the school as they go through their grieving process as well.”

The suspect in custody is the only person who has to do with the death of the 13-year-old girl, according to Sheriff Hardwick.

“I will tell you this is a long process. We’re in the very early stages of this,” Hardwick said. “I think it’s important that we actually put out that the suspect is in custody as we speak. There are no further threats to this particular case.”

Deputies say a 911 call came in around 10 a.m. Sunday from Bailey’s family, who told law enforcement she was last seen late Saturday night into early Sunday morning. A statewide missing child alert was issued shortly after.

According to deputies, a resident who was out looking in his neighborhood found Bailey’s body around 6 p.m. Deputies on Sunday announced they believed the body was the missing girl but officially verified it on Monday.

Sheriff Hardwick said that Bailey was found fully clothed but released few other details about the circumstances of her death, saying that an investigation is ongoing.

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