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The mother of a Florida teenager accused of stabbing a schoolmate to death has been arrested for allegedly tampering with evidence in the case.
Crystal Smith, 35, was taken into custody and booked for tampering with evidence Saturday after she surrendered to authorities, according to a statement from the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office obtained by Oxygen.com.
Smith’s 14-year-old son, Aiden Fucci, has been accused of fatally stabbing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, before leaving her body near a retention pond not far from his home on Mother’s Day. Authorities say Bailey was stabbed 114 times.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza, who described the killing as a “horrific” premeditated act, announced late last month that Fucci will be charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the slaying, according to local station WJXT.
Not long after Bailey was reported missing by her family on the morning of May 9, authorities learned that she may have been in contact with Fucci before she disappeared and went to his home to speak with him, according to an arrest warrant obtained by Oxygen.com.
Fucci allegedly offered to ride with deputies to show them where he had last seen Bailey before his “story began to change” and he invoked his Constitutional rights, authorities said.
After Fucci left with the deputies, investigators said his mother was seen on surveillance footage from inside the home going into the teen’s room around 12:55 p.m. and taking out a pair of jeans that he had allegedly been seen wearing in surveillance footage the morning Bailey was killed.
Smith can be seen taking the jeans to a nearby bathroom where she “appeared to be scrubbing the jeans in the bathroom sink” before taking them to her bedroom for “a period of time,” according to the warrant. She was seen in the footage returning the jeans to Fucci’s room around 1:28 p.m.
A witness who had been in the home around that time later told investigators that Smith had showed her a pair of damp jeans and asked if she could see anything on the jeans. She allegedly told the woman that she had washed the jeans and did not know whether there had been any blood on there or not, according to the court documents. The witness allegedly told Smith at the time that she could get in trouble for washing the jeans.
Investigators said the jeans later tested positive for the presence of blood. The drain in the bathroom sink where Smith was seen washing the jeans also tested positive for blood, authorities said.
As the investigation into Bailey’s disappearance continued, Fucci was taken to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and placed into an interview room along with both of his parents. While the three sat in the interview room, authorities said Fucci’s parents asked him “about anything that would be on his clothes from the previous night.”
Fucci allegedly told his parents that he had been wearing blue jeans. When Smith asked if he was sure nothing was on them, he replied “I think so, why?” authorities said. According to investigators, Smith then gave Fucci a “questioning look” and whispered “blood.”
Bailey’s body was discovered near the retention pond later on the evening of May 9 by a person helping in the search. She had been repeatedly stabbed and the tip of a hunting knife, believed to be the murder weapon, was found inside the 13-year-old’s body, according to the state attorney’s office.
The knife was later recovered in the nearby pond, the local station reports.
Larizza alleged that before Bailey was killed, Fucci had told several witnesses in the case that “he intended to kill someone” although he never specified who the target may be.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, WKMG reports.
Smith was taken into custody Saturday at approximately 11:50 a.m., according to a statement from the state attorney’s office obtained by Oxygen.com.
While referring to the third-degree felony charges against the 35-year-old, Larizza said “tampering with evidence is tampering with justice and cannot be excused or tolerated.”
Smith was released about 90 minutes later after posting a $25,000 bond, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
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