Dive teams search pond after officials confirm teen cheerleader was slain in stabbing

Around the South

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJAX/CBS Newspath/AP) — Dive teams were seen at a retention pond near where Tristyn Bailey’s body was found following her stabbing death over the weekend.

Crime scene tape was put up Monday night as crews searched the water for clues in the teen’s death. The search was called off around 8:30 p.m. after it got dark in the Durbin Creek neighborhood.

WJAX law and safety expert Dale Carson, with experience as an officer and the FBI, said crews could possibly be searching for the murder weapon.

“One of the reasons you throw it in the water is to remove the possibility of fingerprints and blood evidence,” he said.

Carson added with the technology available to the sheriff’s office, detectives would still likely find the evidence they need.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Bailey died as a result of a stabbing.

“It has now been determined by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Predrag Bulic that the cause of death is sharp force trauma by stabbing. The manner of death is homicide. We will continue to investigate this case fully and will begin transitioning this case to the State Attorneys Office,” the statement said.

On Tuesday morning, a judge ordered the suspect held on a second-degree murder charge for 21 days.

By then the state attorney’s office said it will make a decision on whether he’ll be tried as an adult.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s officials say Tristyn Bailey was last seen early Sunday at a community center south of Jacksonville. The teens attended nearby Patriot Oaks Academy.

Tristyn was a cheerleader at her school and was a student at Infinity Allstars Cheerleading, which held a vigil Monday night, WLTV reported.

St. John County Sheriff Robert Hardwick confirmed Monday that his office was reviewing social media activity, including reports of a selfie photo circulating on social media that shows what appears to be the suspect in the back of a squad car flashing the peace sign with a caption making reference to Bailey.

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