Missing Arianna

A murder and kidnapping case went cold, until a new discovery launched a fresh investigation.

(Courtesy the Fitts Family)

The city is covered in blooming cherry blossom trees, and crowds are hitting the parks to soak up the sunshine. But for one group of people, springtime is a depressing anniversary of loss: April 8 marks one year since the body of Nicole Fitts, 32, was discovered in a shallow grave in McLaren Park. Her daughter Arianna Fitts, who would now be 3, has been missing ever since.

Nicole worked at the Best Buy on Harrison Street, and was last seen alive on April 1, 2016. Four days later,  her family filed missing person’s reports for her and her daughter, and three days later Nicole’s body was found was by Recreation and Park employees.

The case made headlines across the state, while SFPD tried to figure out what happened to the Fitts, and whether Arianna was still alive. Family and friends were interviewed, and search warrants were issued for Oakland, Emeryville and Daly City. At the center of the mystery was a plywood board placed over Nicole’s body where she was buried. Marked with graffiti it appeared to have been sourced from outside the park.

But almost one year passed, and the case went cold — until last week. SFPD announced Friday that the FBI had seized a car that could be linked to the murder and abduction, though who it belongs to, and how it could have been involved, has yet to be made public. The investigation is ongoing.

Last Saturday evening, family and friends of the Fitts gathered in McLaren Park for a candlelight vigil to remember Nicole’s life and show support for the continued search for her daughter. “Arianna is our hope,” Nicole’s sister, Claire Bonnar, told reporters. “We’re doing everything we can to bring this little girl home.”

View Comments