Authorities found a body of a 13-year-old Florida girl who had been reported missing on Sunday morning, and have arrested a 14-year-old boy on a second-degree murder charge in the case.
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that Tristyn Bailey had been last seen around 1:15 a.m. Sunday at the Durbin Amenity Center and was reported missing hours later. A missing child alert was issued hours before the body was found.
Sheriff's deputies, along with neighbors, friends and family members, had searched for the girl throughout the day. Sheriff's officials called off the search shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday.
“This is a grieving community and we’re going to respect that grieving community. I ask that you put this out there and help us stand by this community and let them grieve together,” the sheriff’s office statement said.
On Monday morning, deputies confirmed the clothed body found was that of Bailey, and said a 14-year-old male had been arrested in the case. Deputies said the teen arrested will be charged with second-degree murder.
“Our investigative team is out there interviewing all kinds of witnesses, whether directly or indirectly involved in this case," Sheriff Bob Hardwick said Monday. "But as I told you before, we have a suspect in custody. That is the only suspect that has to do with the death of Tristyn.”
Hardwick said the two teens attended the same school, but did not say if they were classmates. Grief counselors were available on Monday at the school, Patriot Oaks Academy.
“Justice is being served," Hardwick said. "However, we know the community is angry. This is a very tight-knit community of St. Johns County. This is a time for us to work with Tristyn Bailey’s family to make sure that they have all of the information."
St. Johns County is south of Jacksonville on Florida's Atlantic coast.