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SFPD renews pleas for help in finding missing toddler

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SFPD Chief Greg Suhr speaks during a news conference at SFPD Headquarters in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, May 18, 2016 regarding new details in the missing persons case of 2-year-old Arianna Fitts and the murder of her mother, Nicole Fitts. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

In the weeks leading up to her killing, Nicole Fitts could not get her daughter back from a trio of East Bay residents who had been looking after the now-missing 2-year-old girl.

Police on Wednesday renewed their pleas for help from the public in finding Arianna Fitts, who authorities believe is alive and still in the Bay Area.

“We need to find this little girl,” San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

Nicole Fitts, who was last seen alive April 1 and found in a dirt hole in McLaren Park a week later, was in a dispute with the group of people who had looked after her youngest daughter Arianna when Nicole Fitts worked long hours at Best Buy on Harrison Street. Arianna was last seen in Oakland in February.

Arianna Fitts, 2, was last seen in late February and she is being considered at-risk because she is young and foul play is suspected. Anyone who sees her is urged to call 911. (Courtesy SFPD)

Arianna Fitts, 2, was last seen in late February and she is being considered at-risk because she is young and foul play is suspected. Anyone who sees her is urged to call 911. (Courtesy SFPD)

The San Francisco Police Department’s ongoing investigation into the killing of Nicole Fitts, and the search for her still-missing daughter, led investigators to search homes in Emeryville, Oakland and Daly City, but the group of people who last saw Ariana have refused to cooperate after their initial interview.

“There was a period of time she couldn’t get her back,” said Cmdr. Greg McEachern of the time before Fitts was killed. Additionally, he said investigators believe Fitts death and that dispute are somehow linked.

The trio, two sisters and a man, met Fitts through an acquaintance of hers who she lived with in Daly City about a year before her death. While police know the whereabouts of the trio — they have refused to cooperate in the investigation and remain persons of interest — McEachern is confident Arianna is still alive and nearby.

“We are confident that Ariana was in the care of a couple of individuals,” said McEachern. “I think she’s still in the Bay Area and I think she’s still alive.”

In the meantime, law enforcement had been canvassing areas where they think Ariana might have been and have obtained video footage of her mother in the area where her body was discovered. The investigation has also taken them to Southern California

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has been aiding the department’s case, said Special Agent in Charge John Bennett.

“We truly believe there is more that can be done to bring this little girl home,” said Bennett.

Nicole Fitts’ sister Contessa Fitts pleaded for the return of her niece Wednesday. “Our hearts are just breaking every day that we don’t see Ariana,” she said, holding back tears.

Meanwhile, Best Buy, where Nicole Fitts worked, has announced a $10,000 reward for anyone who helps locate her daughter.

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