Crystal Smith, mother of teen suspect in killing of 13-year-old Florida cheerleader, is charged with evidence tampering

The mother of the Florida teenager charged with murdering a 13-year-old cheerleader by stabbing her more than 100 times surrendered herself to police on Saturday on charges of evidence tampering, authorities said.

The boy, 14, who NBC News is not naming because he’s a minor, entered a plea of not guilty on Thursday for a charge of first-degree murder of Tristyn Bailey. The 13-year-old was found dead on May 9 in a wooded area of St. Johns, a suburb of Jacksonville.

Authorities said Bailey suffered 114 stab wounds, 49 of which appeared to have been defensive wounds to Bailey’s hands, arms and head as she tried to fight off her attacker.

The boy’s mother, Crystal Smith, was arrested Saturday morning in St. John’s County and then released on $25,000 bail, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

A surveillance camera inside the home of Smith, 35, showed her washing a pair of her son’s jeans that later tested positive for blood, according to an arrest warrant. Traces of blood were also found in a sink drain, the warrant said. Evidence tampering is a third-degree felony in Florida.

The suspect was arrested on May 10, just one day after Bailey was reported missing and found dead. It was announced in late May he would be tried as an adult.

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SOURCE: NBC News – Ben Kesslen

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