Daughter, 2, of Woman Found Dead in Shallow Grave Believed to Still be Alive: Police
Who would want Nicole Fitts dead and where is her 2-year-old daughter?
Those are the questions that have haunted investigators in the six weeks since the 32-year-old mother’s body was found in a shallow grave in San Francisco’s McLaren Park.
She and her daughter, Arianna, were reported missing on April 5, but the little girl had not been seen since the middle of February, officials said.
“Someone out there knows where (Arianna) is,” Cmdr. Greg McEachern told reporters. “Someone out there has information. We are pleading with you to contact us.”
Fitts vanished after taking a bus about 9:45 p.m. April 1 to meet someone she knew, authorities said.
City workers stumbled upon the small hole covered by a piece of plywood that Fitts’ body was found in the fetal position on April 8.
Fitts most recently worked for Best Buy, which has offered a $10,000 reward for information that would assist in finding Arianna or that would lead to the arrest of her mother’s killer.
"As we continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague Nicole we are still hopeful Arianna will be found safely... we hope that by offering a reward we can bring the person responsible to justice and begin to heal," a Best Buy employee said at a news conference.
Investigators have been combing through thousands of pieces of information in the case, focusing closely on the wood used to conceal Fitts’ body.
Fitts was found under a 4-foot long plywood board investigators believe the killer or killers brought to conceal the spot. On it was an unidentified symbol in gray spray paint.
“We hope someone may recognize (the symbol),” McEachern said, noting it could have come from a construction site or even be a graffiti symbol. "It is our belief that the person who buried her brought the board with them."
Though there’s been no sign of Arianna since she was reported missing, police said they believe the child is still alive.
"I think she's still in the Bay Area and I think she's still alive," McEachern said Wednesday.
"You look at her picture and she's just an innocent little girl, and she doesn't deserve whatever has happened to her," he continued
Devastated family members took to social media to plead for the safe return of the child, who they say Fitts loved dearly.
“Although her kind soul and generous spirit lives on through all who met her, she is missed beyond belief - Please help reunite her baby daughter Arianna with her family!” her sister-in-law Claire Bonnar wrote on Facebook.
Fitts reportedly did not have custody of her daughter at the time they disappeared. Arianna was being cared for by a trio in Oakland, but Fitts had been working and saving money in an effort to get her back, KGO-TV reported.
“That's all Nicole was talking about seeing her daughter. Her babysitter started giving her the runaround about her child,” a friend told the news station.
Investigators are "confident" that Arianna was being taken care of by acquaintances of Fitts and that they are the last ones to know her whereabouts.
The group has allegedly been uncooperative with police and have provided inconsistent statements, authorities said.
No suspects have been officially named and no arrests have been made.
Fitts also leaves behind a 12-year-old daughter who is staying with family in Southern California.
Loved ones have created a GoFundMe page to help Fitts' family pay for funeral expenses as well as raise funds to help find Arianna. To date, they have raised about $2,000.
Meanwhile Fitts’ family said their final goodbye last weekend to the hardworking and generous mom, scattering the woman’s ashes at sea.
Her heartbroken sister-in-law bid an emotional farewell to Fitts, writing: “We're all missing you Nikki, we're going to bring your baby home!”