San Francisco police on Wednesday reiterated their need for the public's help in locating 2-year-old Arianna Fitts, the missing toddler whose mother, Nicole Fitts, was found murdered in April.
Nicole Fitts was an employee at a Best Buy store on Harrison Street in San Francisco, and the store announced a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
"We hope that by offering a reward, we can bring the person responsible to justice and begin the healing," a company spokesman said at a news conference Wednesday.
Commander Greg McEachern said that police are "confident" that Arianna was being cared for by acquaintances of her mother and that they are the last ones to know her whereabouts. However, those three individuals initially gave conflicting statements to investigators and are now refusing to cooperate further.
Attorney Darryl Stallworth said on their behalf, "They did what they should do, which is hire an attorney to help them understand what would happen next. And because they hired me … I advised them not to provide any more statements."
Police have yet to identify any suspects.
"I think she's still in the Bay Area and I think she's still alive," McEachern said of Arianna Fitts.
He continued: "What's difficult for us in law enforcement, we deal with homicides all the time but you not only have a homicide but you have a missing 2-year-old girl. You look at her picture and she's just an innocent little girl, and she doesn't deserve whatever has happened to her."
Nicole Fitts was found dead in John McLaren Park on the morning of April 8. Recreation and Park Department employees found her body buried in a shallow grave near a playground and covered with a plywood board. Police have not released a cause of death.
She was last seen on the night of April 1, when she went to meet someone she knew, and was reported missing by her family on April 5, according to police. McEachern said police have obtained video showing Nicole Fitts near the area where her body was later found.
The family also alerted police at that time that Nicole Fitts' daughter, Arianna, was missing. Police said Arianna, who sometimes stayed with caregivers for extended periods while her mother worked, was last seen in February.
Contessa Fitts, Nicole's sister, said Wednesday that her sister was a giving person who worked long hours to support her children and rarely took time for herself.
"I know that what she wants is for Arianna to be home with family," a visibly emotional Contessa said. "Help us, help Nicole. Find Arianna and bring her home. Our hearts are just breaking every day that we're not seeing her."
McEachern said police have executed search warrants at locations in Oakland, Emeryville and Daly City in an effort to locate Arianna and also followed up on leads in Southern California. Police are also reviewing computer, cell phone and financial records and the FBI has been brought in to assist in the search.