Young, Black, & Missing in San Francisco: 3-year-old Arianna Fitts
Post By: Mirriam Rafiq Braden
Nicole had been on her own from an early age, and struggled to find safe and permanent housing for her youngest daughter Arianna. She frequently left Arianna with babysitters, Siolo Hearne of Emeryville or Hearne’s relative Helene Martin of Oakland, for weeks at a time. She had met the babysitters through Lemasani Briggs, a street pastor she had met in Daly City.
By early 2016, Nicole had secured a place to live in the Bayview, with the extended family of a coworker Goyette Williams. Nicole worked the early shift at San Francisco’s Best Buy, and frequently worked long hours. Goyette’s sister had just secured childcare for Arianna, and Nicole was looking forward to the reunion.Nicole last saw Arianna last February. According to Goyette, Hearne and Martin were unreachable or would say Arianna was out of town or “at Disneyland.” In March, Nikki intended to pick Arianna up but was told that she could not. On April 1, 2016, Nicole told her her roommate Williams that “she would be right back”–she was catching a bus to meet her babysitter.Nicole never returned.
Williams recently clarified the timeline of Nicole’s last days. She feels devastated for not accompanying Nicole to meet the babysitter. “I offered to go with her. Why didn’t I insist? I reminded her about the last time she had met the babysitter, when I think she took Nicole’s payment for babysitting Arianna and used it immediately for narcotics.” But Nicole’s mind was made up.
In the middle of that night, Williams a text from Nicole she describes as uncharacteristic, saying that despite having work in the morning, Nicole, Arianna, and a friend “Sam” were going to Fresno—a name Goyette had never heard. Nicole did not show up for work the next morning, and a few days later, park workers found Nicole’s body in McLaren Park.
Arianna has not been seen since. According to police, the Martins and their relatives in Oakland are not cooperating and have given inconsistent statements. They are also refusing requests to talk to the media.
Both the SFPD special victims unit and the FBI are searching for Arianna, and she is now listed on the FBI’s most wanted kidnapping victims. The family believes that the murder is related to the disappearance and possible kidnapping. The police suspect foul play and are asking the public’s help in identifying possible clues found near Nicole’s body.
Nicole’s sister Tessa of Capitola wants to raise awareness of Arianna’s disappearance on TV and social media:
“I want this story to be in the media more. I wish that it were more consistently put out there, because there is still a 3-year-old girl who is still missing, none of her family or friend have any clue. I know that someone or multiple people have seen her so its so important that we keep putting her face in the public, so people remember that this little girls is not where she belongs, and she needs to be home.”
Nicole’s employer Best Buy is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can locate Arianna.
Per SFPD: If you see Arianna, call 911 immediately. If you have information on Arianna’s whereabouts or anything related to the homicide of Nicole we encourage you to contact the SFPD Homicide Unit at 415-553-1145, the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP 411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message, or www.sanfranciscopolice.org/tip