San Francisco

“I Want to Believe She's OK”: Slain Woman's Sister Scared, But Hopeful Police Will Find Missing Niece

It’s been nearly three days since San Francisco police launched a search for a two-year-old girl after finding her slain mother’s body in a park, but there’s been no break in the case.

Nicole Fitts, who was last seen April 1 and reported missing four days later, was found dead in John McLaren Park around 9:30 p.m. Friday night, police said. The condition of the 32-year-old woman's body alarmed police, who said they are worried for the safety of her baby, Arianna.

Police have since turned to social media to seek the public’s assistance in locating the missing child and finding a possible killer. Police spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan deemed Arianna "at-risk" Saturday because of her young age and the fact that foul play is suspected in her disappearance.

Investigators have also expanded their search to the Los Angeles area and a Facebook page has been set up to help find Arianna. The baby was last seen in late February by someone other than her mother, police said, but did not reveal who that person was.

According to police sources, this is a complicated case. The mother-daughter duo was living under the radar and Nicole Fitts used the address of a Best Buy in SoMa where she worked to collect her mail. She was to celebrate her one-year anniversary of being employed at the store this weekend, police said.

John McLaren Park, where Nicole Fitts was found dead, is about five miles away from the Harrison Street shop. 

"I’m really trying to stay positive … that someone will know something and bring her home," Nicole Fitts' sister, Contessa, said.

Although hopeful that police will find her niece, Contessa Fitts admitted that she is "really scared."

"I don't know where she is and who she's with," she said of Arianna. "I want to believe she's OK and no on has hurt her."

According to Contessa Fitts, the two sisters kept in touch and despite living in different cities, would get together about once a month. However, she has no information about Arianna's father -- not even his name

"Yeah, I just don’t know," Contessa Fitts admitted. "I really don’t know."

For their part, police sources say the child's father has not been active in her life. 

Investigators looked at a person of interest who knew Nicole Fitts – who went by Nikki – through her job at Best Buy. They couldn’t make a case, though, they said.

Police also checked out Arianna Fitts’ still unidentified babysitter in Oakland. That too led to a dead end, they said.

Nicole Fitts’ friends, who say they plan to gather in John McLaren Park on Friday, continue to write on her Facebook page.

Investigators say there was one post that caught their attention. A message that appeared to be from from Nicole Fitts said she was going away for a while. The woman's friends told police that the post, which is no longer visible on the social media site, looked suspicious. It is unclear when the Facebook post was put up and taken down.

Arianna and Nicole Fitts frequented San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Oakland, Emeryville and other California cities, said police, who have also notified authorities in those cities to be on the lookout for the missing child. 

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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