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Child missing after mother found murdered in San Francisco

4-1-20 – The San Francisco Police Department is now offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of suspects in the murder of Nicole Fitts and the disappearance of the child.

Authorities are searching for a missing 2-year-old after her mother was found murdered in San Francisco John McLaren Park near University and Woolsey streets on Friday.  Nicole Fitts was found buried in a shallow grave near a playground and covered with a plywood board.

The investigation determined that Arianna was last seen in February of 2016 while in the care of her babysitters Helena Hearne Martin and her husband Devin Martin.

Leading up to Nicole’s murder: Nikki’s family reported her missing on April 5, 2016.  They were getting text messages, from “Nikki” and saw a Facebook post from Nikki, but  they were sure she didn’t write either.   The texts said Nikki would be going to Fresno, California with someone named ‘Sam.’  The Facebook post read, “Spending time with my 3 year old, need this brake.”

What was also odd was that Arianna was not yet 3-years-old and the fact that “Nikki” said she was 3 and not 2 seemed strange.  They also noted there were misspellings in the post.

Nicole Fitts lived in Oakland but worked in San Francisco, but before that she was living in a homeless shelter at the time with Arianna.  Her older daughter was living with her father.  During the time she was at the shelter she was invited to life with a man named Lemasani Briggs.  Briggs’ sisters, Siolo Hearne and Helena Hearne Martin helped with childcare for Arianna. Over time, the rent she was paying was increasing.

In late March 2016, a co worker offered Fitts a place to live with Arianna near the Best Buy where she worked, in San Francisco’s Mission District. She reportedly told the babysitter that she wouldn’t be needing her to care for Arianna anymore and her last day would be April 2.

On April 1, the night she went missing, Fitts received a phone call around 9 p.m. and told a friend she had to “go meet the babysitter,” police said, but she didn’t say why.  She had withdrawn hundreds of dollars from her bank account earlier that day.  She was still wearing her Best Buy shirt when she got on the Muni train.

It has been theorized that Nikki withdrew the money to pay the sisters for the childcare and to pick up Arianna and bring her home to their new place.  Although, Nikki’s new roommate told her to call the police for help to retrieve her daughter, she did not take the advice.

Martin and her husband had “cooperated initially” but no longer were doing so.

Age Progression Sketch

At first, San Francisco Police Dept. stated that could not let out much information surrounding the death of Nicole Fitts, and they did not released the cause of death.  But they did released photos of the plywood found over Fitts’ body. They believed it had been brought to the area from outside the park, and they sought information on the symbol spray-painted on it.

According to the Charley Project, Police stated Hearne and the Martins were refusing to cooperate with the investigation and had provided inconsistent statements.

PEOPLE called the Martin’s attorney, Darryl Stallworth and he said, “I appreciate the investigation and the family wanting to do everything they can to find that beautiful young child. My client has and continues to communicate that she had nothing to do with Arianna’s disappearance. There wasn’t enough information developed by law enforcement to change that position.”

There has been no suspects named in Nicole’s murder.

Helena served time in prison when she was eighteen for the murder of her child’s father.

If you have any tips on this case, please contact the San Francisco Police at SFPD 24 Hour Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or you can leave an anonymous tip with me.

UPDATE 11/26/16 – Arianna is still missing.  The family is hoping that someone will recognize the now three-year-old and report that she has been seen.  She could possible still be in the San Francisco area and could even be going to childcare or preschool somewhere.  San Francisco police questioned Helena Martin, a known babysitter for Arianna.  Martin retained an attorney and is no longer speaking with the police.

UPDATE 11/26/16 – Arianna is still missing.  The family is hoping that someone will recognize the now three-year-old and report that she has been seen.  She could possible still be in the San Francisco area and could even be going to childcare or preschool somewhere.  San Francisco police questioned Helena Martin, a known babysitter for Arianna.  Martin retained an attorney and is no longer speaking with the police.

The Best Buy on Harrison Street in San Francisco, where Nicole Fitts worked has announced a $10,000 reward for information in the case of Nicole’s missing 2-year-old daughter.  Commander Greg McEachern said at a press conference on May 19, that police are “confident” that Arianna was being cared for by acquaintances of her mother.  The issue is they will not cooperate and they have given police conflicting statements which leads investigators to believe they know exactly where she is. “I think she’s still in the Bay Area and I think she’s still alive,” McEachern said.

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