On April 8, 2016, Nicole Fitts and her daughter, Ariana Fitts, were reported missing. Shortly after, Nicole was found murdered in McLaren Park. Ariana, who was last seen in her babysitter’s custody, is believed to have been kidnapped. Nicole’s murder remains unsolved and Ariana’s whereabouts are unknown.
Nicole Fitts, 32, was a single mom to Ariana Fitts. They lived in San Francisco, California Bay with a woman named Lemasani Briggs. According to Contessa Fitts, Nicole’s sister Lemasani told people she was a pastor. She would verbally abuse Nicole and treated her poorly. Nicole, who struggled financially, decided she could not live with Lemasani anymore.
Nicole left Lemasani’s house and stood at different friends’ houses and sometimes slept at work. At some point, Nicole met her new babysitters, Helena Hearne Martin, Helena’s husband Devin Martin, and Helena’s sister, Siolo Hearne. The trio were related to Lemasani, but were not on speaking terms with him, according to 8 News Now.
Nicole would let Ariana stay with the Marin’s and Siolo on days when she worked long, late shifts. She was working on getting an apartment for her and Ariana. Her sister stated in an interview she had bought a crib for Ariana and found an apartment she planned on moving into.
Once Nicole was ready to settle down with Ariana, she tried to get her back from the babysitters, who became “unavailable”, according to Contessa. Contessa told 8 News Now, “That’s when things started to take a turn, was when they started to claim that they were no longer or that they weren’t available for Nikki to come and get her daughter.” They told Nicole they brought Ariana to Disneyland, which made Nicole angry, as she did not give them permission to take her.
Nicole told the babysitters she was going to pick Ariana up on April 3, 2016, according to an interview with Nicole’s new roommate, Goyette Williams. According to True Crime Daily, on April 1, 2016, Nicole told Goyette she was going to meet the babysitter and would be back in 5 minutes. Around 12:45 a.m., Goyette stated he got a text from Nicole saying she was going to meet a friend, Sam, in Fresno. This made little sense to Goyette.
Nicole was seen for the last time on April 1, 2016. When friends and family did not hear from her for several days, they reported her missing on April 5, 2016. Ariana was 2 years old the last time she was seen.
Nicole Fitts is Found
On April 8, 2016, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department workers found the remains of Nicole Fitts buried in McLaren Park. Investigators believed she was lured to the park by the babysitter. She was in the fetal position, forced to fit into a 2.5-foot by 3-foot grave. A piece of plywood with spray paint was placed over her body to conceal it. Nicole was still wearing her Best Buy work shirt.
The investigation revealed Ariana was not with her mother when she was murdered. It is believed she was with her babysitters, who are the last people to have seen Ariana.
Police executed search warrants for multiple homes associated with the babysitters who had last had Ariana but they did not find Ariana. During the searches, they collected over 30,000 pieces of evidence.
The police have not formally named anyone a suspect, but believe there are a few individuals who have more information about what happened to Nicole and Ariana then they are saying. They also hope that someone will recognize the wooden plank used to conceal Nicole, as investigators believe the suspect brought it with them to the park.
On April 1, ABC 7 reported police have made progress in the case but have not said what that progress is. They confirmed they were still collecting information and have forensic evidence to analyze. They also stated they will reach out to people who they have previously interviewed about the case.
Police placed billboards with an age progressed pictures in California and Las Vegas. They picked Las Vegas since this is where babysitters moved to. They are hoping the age progressed picture, showing what Ariana may look like at age 8, will bring in new leads.
The reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Ariana and the murder of Nicole is $250,000. Anyone with information is asked to call (415) 553-8090.