It's been a little more than seven months since Bay Area toddler Arianna Fitts was seen last. Though a search for the child began in April, the whereabouts of the toddler, whose third birthday was Tuesday, remain unknown.
Here's a refresher on the case: At 9:45 p.m. on April 1, 32-year-old mother of two/employee of SF's Harrison Street Best Buy store Nicole Fitts was seen on the T-Third in her "blue Best Buy shirt with her nametag." She was "going to meet a person known to her," SFPD Commander Greg McEachern later said, but there are no reported sightings of her after that, and she was reported missing on April 5.
At that time, her family told police that her 2-year-old, Arianna, was also missing. Family members say they last saw Arianna in mid-February, and assumed that she was staying with friends or babysitters, as Arianna "often spent the night outside of Fitts’ home and she was not in Fitts’ care when she disappeared," officials said at the time.
On April 8, Nicole's body was found in "a small, shallow grave" in McLaren Park.
Her body was discovered beneath "a plywood board with odd spray-painted markings" that police believe was brought to the scene. Investigators had hoped that someone would recognize the markings and come forward, but that has yet to occur.
Meanwhile, a Bay Area-wide search was mounted to find Arianna, but though though police have interviewed numerous people, executed search warrants, and seized more than 30,000 pieces of evidence at locations in Oakland, Emeryville and Daly City in connection with the locations where Arianna was thought to have been staying, her whereabouts remain unknown.
A $10,000 reward for Arianna's safe return was offered in May, even as a friend of Nicole's suggested that an altercation with one of Arianna's babysitters might have led up to the girl's disappearance.
The child had been spending extended periods of time at a caregiver's home in Oakland, the friend said, and a conflict had arisen around Nicole trying to retrieve Arianna around April 1. According to a report at the time, caregivers Helena and Devin Martin and Siolo Hearne gave conflicting statements at the outset of this investigation and are no longer cooperating with authorities.
But though the trail appears to have gone cold, Arianna’s aunt Contessa told KRON 4 on Tuesday, Arianna's third birthday, that they haven't given up hope.
“Waking up every day knowing that my sister is gone, knowing that no one knows where Arianna is, it’s been exhausting and it’s been hard,” Contessa said, but they are still looking for the toddler in every way they can.
“That’s exactly what [Nicole] would want and..that’s .I want everyone to do whatever they can,” Contessa said. “Give us information, anything that will help bring Arianna home.”
The public is being asked to call 911 if they believe they've seen the child, and those with information regarding Fitts's death are asked to contact the SFPD Homicide Unit at 415-553-1145, or the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 with "SFPD" at the beginning of the message.
Previously: Slain SF Mom Was Buried Beneath Board Covered In 'Odd Spray-Painted Markings'
Babysitters Suspected In Disappearance Of 2-Year-Old Whose Mother Was Killed As $10K Reward Is Offered