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Arianna's mother, 32-year-old Nicole Fitts, disappeared from San Francisco, California on April 1, 2016. She was last seen after her shift at Best Buy on Harrison Street that day; later in the day, she exchanged text messages with relatives, saying she was in Fresno, California. Her family reported her missing on April 5; they said they couldn't find Arianna either. On April 8, Nicole's body was found in a shallow grave in McLaren Park, covered by a piece of plywood with a symbol spray-painted on it. Photos of Nicole and the plywood are posted below this case summary. After Nicole was found murdered, police announced they thought Arianna was at risk.
Nicole, a single mother, was struggling financially prior to her death and had a hard time paying for child care. In an informal babysitting/foster care arrangement, she gave Arianna, the younger of her two children, to a female friend, Ciolo Hearne, and Hearne gave her to her sister, Helena Martin, and Helena's husband, Devin Martin. The Martins lived on Castro Street in Oakland, California. Nicole hoped to reclaim her daughter once she got back on her feet, but the Martins reportedly wouldn't let her see Arianna. No one in Arianna's family had seen her since sometime in mid-February 2016, about six weeks before her mother's murder. According to Nicole's roommate, Nicole planned to try to retrieve her daughter on the day she disappeared. Nicole was reportedly very upset because she hadn't been able to see her, and her roommate urged her to seek help from the police to get her back.
Police stated Hearne and the Martins were refusing to cooperate with the investigation and had provided inconsistent statements, and it's worth noting that Helena previously served a six-year prison term for killing the father of her child. They haven't been named as suspects in Nicole's homicide or Arianna's disappearance, however.
Arianna's family hopes she is still alive and being cared for. Prior to Nicole's death, she and Arianna frequented the San Francisco, San Mateo, Oakland, Emeryville, Fresno, Santa Cruz and the Silicon Valley areas of the state; investigators believe Arianna could be anywhere in California. Her case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.
Left: Nicole Fitts;
Right: Plywood board found at Nicole's gravesite
Federal Bureau of Investigation