California authorities are offering a $100,00 reward for information on a missing girl who has not been seen in almost four years.
SFWeekly reports that Arianna Fitts was two when she disappeared in 2016. According to San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, Arianna’s mother, Nicole Fitts, had been in a dispute with people who babysat her daughter when she was lured in to meet them.
Police later found Nicole Fitts’ lifeless body thrown in a ditch at McLaren Park on April 1, 2016. A plywood board covered the shallow hole. Arianna was not with her, according to police.
“The plywood has spray-painted markings on it which we hope someone will recognize,” Commander Greg McEachern said at the time. “These markings may be construction-related or even graffiti, but it is our hope someone will recognize them.”
Investigators searched the homes of the people, two sisters and a man, who previously babysat the girl, but they have been uncooperative in the investigation, San Francisco Examiner reports.
According to family members, the sisters were identified as Siolo and Helena Hearne, and the man as Helena’s husband, Devin. The sisters reportedly refused to return the toddler since Fitts’ new home was “too far” from where they lived.
Today the SFPD announced a $100k award for info on the whereabouts of Arianna Fitts. The 2-year-old went missing in 2016 after her mother’s body was discovered in McLaren Park. My feature story on the case is here: https://t.co/tztyhLRsVN pic.twitter.com/Jj1fj6zMst
— Nuala Bishari (@TheBestNuala) March 27, 2020
Fitts found the babysitters through a self-proclaimed evangelist named Lemasani Briggs. According to her sister Tess, Briggs invited Fitts to live with him when she couldn’t afford the skyrocketing rent prices in the city.
Tess said Fitts left Briggs’ home on bad terms after the man overcharged her for rent and babysitting. Fitts then allowed Arianna to stay with Briggs’ nieces, who offered to babysit.
Family members said Nicole Fitts worked long hours at a Best Buy store and often left Arianna for extended periods of time with the babysitters. When Fitts found a home near her job, she reportedly told the babysitters that she would no longer need them to care for Arianna after April 2.
“It took me a few days to start suspecting the babysitters,” Tess told SF Weekly. “It didn’t dawn on me that they could have something to do with this. But then it clicked: What is the missing link in all of this? It’s them. So many people commented on the missing post about Nikki and Arianna, and not once did they. You’re the ones who spend the most time with Arianna, you should be the first ones to be concerned if she’s nowhere to be seen.”
On April 1, Arianna received a phone call from a friend who told her to go “go meet the babysitter.” It was the last time she was seen alive.
Cmdr. Greg McEachern said he thinks that Arianna is alive but likely still in the same area.
“We are confident that Ariana was in the care of a couple of individuals,” said McEachern. “I think she’s still in the Bay Area and I think she’s still alive.”
In addition to the $100,000 reward, Best Buy announced a $10,000 reward shortly after Fitts disappeared.
Anyone with information about Arianna or her mother’s death should call the SFPD 24-hour tip line at 415-575-4444, or to text a tip to TIP411. Begin the text message with “SFPD.”
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[Feature Photo: Arianna Fitts/SFPD]