San Francisco

‘At-Risk' 2-Year-Old Girl Still Missing After Mother Found Dead, Police Say

"She was one of the kindest people you would ever meet. She always had a smile on her face," Nicole Fitts' friend Michael Jacobo said.

The body of a woman, whose 2-year-old daughter is missing, was found in a San Francisco park, sources say.

Nicole Fitts was last seen April 1 and reported missing four days later, police said. She was found slain Friday in John McLaren Park, the city’s second-largest park, sources close to the investigation told NBC Bay Area.

San Francisco police have enlisted the public’s help in finding the homicide victim’s child, Arianna. They have also expanded their search to the Los Angeles area. A Facebook page has been set up to find her.

Speaking at a news conference Saturday, police spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan said Arianna was last seen in late February by someone other than her mother. It was not immediately clear who that person is. 

The child is "considered 'at risk' due to her young age, and because police suspect foul play in her disappearance,” Gatpandan said.

On Sunday, Nicole's sister, Contessa Fitts, said she is hopeful her niece will be found. 

Contessa Fitts said San Francisco police haven't told her much about what happened to her sister, but added that she knows they are doing everything they can to locate Arianna.

"I'm really scared," she told NBC Bay Area on Sunday night. "I don't know where she is and who she's with. I want to believe she's OK and no on has hurt her."

The two sisters kept in touch and despite living in different cities, would get together about once a month, Contessa Fitts said. She described Nicole as a cheerful and pleasant person.

Nicole Fitts, who went by Nikki, most recently lived in San Francisco and worked at a Best Buy store, her sister said. The SoMa store on Harrison Street is less than five miles north of McLaren Park. 

"None of this makes sense,'' Michael Jacobo, Nicole's friend and co-worker, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "She was one of the kindest people you would ever meet. She always had a smile on her face. It always stuck with me how kind and shy she was.'' 

The manager said employees close to Fitts were sent home on Sunday.

Some co-workers wrote on Facebook that they are “devastated,” “broke down crying,” and “yesterday was Nicole’s one-year anniversary” at the store.

To them, Fitts was like family.

Best Buy officials also released a statement, which said in part, “We are saddened by the news and our thoughts go out to Nicole’s loved ones and pray her daughter is found safely.”

The mother-daughter duo were known to frequently visit San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Oakland, Emeryville and other California cities, according to Gatpandan.

"The more people that are aware of her, the better,” she stressed.

Due to the sensitive nature of this investigation, police said they can't disclose any other details about the killing or any other circumstances of the case.

Anyone who sees Arianna is asked to immediately call 911.

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