LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. - Residents in the Hidden Valley area of Newhall are very worried.
They have been posting and reposting the video obtained by a teenager, who was alerted by a woman’s screams around 11 p.m. on Thursday, August 12.
As he looked out the window from his home, he saw a light-colored, Sprinter-type van, possibly a Mercedes-Benz. The teen witness heard a woman’s desperate plea for help.
A man had just let out a dog from the van, seemingly to relieve itself, when the female voice shrieking "someone, help me" echoed into the night.
The teen started rolling from his cellphone, as he alerted someone in the house to call 911. The man immediately started calling the dog back to the vehicle, and the teen, trying to delay him, called out to the dog, himself. But the man managed to get the dog into the vehicle and speed off towards the Calgrove exit of the 5 Freeway in the Newhall-Santa Clarita area.
"This could have been my daughters," says one resident, pointing out that this is a popular route for trails in the neighborhood, where we saw quite a few people, including young women, walking. The vehicle seemed new, and solar panels, along with an AC unit on the roof, are definitely after-market items, which make it very unique, and identifiable.
‘HE DID EXACTLY WHAT HE NEEDED TO DO’
"The license plate is not clear from the video," says one Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department – Santa Clarita station detective. "But those panels and the AC? We are hoping someone will be able to identify the vehicle by noticing them."
So, he posted the video on the Sheriff’s website but was surprised at the many people who made comments criticizing the young man for videotaping the incident.
"He did exactly what he needed to do," says the detective.
Looking at the location hours after the incident took place, it’s obvious that there would have been no time to reach the van to help, as some comments are suggesting he should have done. It would have been impossible, and a video of the scene is a critical tool.
The teen even tried to coax the man’s dog towards him, as they called 911. Getting physically involved, according to the investigator, would have been foolish.
Calling authorities is exactly what detectives would like to see people do if they see the vehicle. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 661-799-5805.