Woman Heard Screaming for Help Inside Van in Video Released by Police

Police in Los Angeles are investigating footage posted to social media late last week that appeared to show a woman repeatedly screaming for help inside of a van.

In a video that was originally posted to the social news site Reddit on Friday, a woman could be heard screaming for "help" as she shouted with a man in a van parked on the side of the road.

The video, which appeared to be filmed from a balcony above the van, was shot from too far away for the license plate to be visible or for anyone located inside the vehicle to be identified.

After the woman could be heard shouting "somebody help me!" the man who filmed the video unsuccessfully urged a vehicle driving past the van to stop and screamed "why are you doing this?" before the driver closed the door and drove away from the area.

The man who filmed the video also spoke to an unidentified second individual about calling the police but said that he was unable to because he was filming the vehicle.

The original video and the account of the user who uploaded it have since been deleted, but the clip was posted to social media by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday evening as they asked the public for help in finding the van.

In a caption accompanying the video, which it described as "graphic," posted to the department's Twitter account on Monday evening, the authorities confirmed that they are looking for any information from the public about the vehicle.

"Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station are asking the public's help to identify the vehicle and any information about the occupants of the vehicle in the video," the sheriff's department wrote.

Please Call 661-799-5805 and speak with Detective David Nisenoff, if you have any identifying information. Pay close attention to the #LASD Attempt to ID Bulletin for the vehicle description. pic.twitter.com/nQeu9BiDwH

— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) August 16, 2021

In an additional special bulletin about the incident, Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that it occurred in the early hours of the morning on August 12 near the intersection of Calgrove Boulevard and Creekside Drive in Newhall, California.

The authorities described the video footage as a "suspicious incident" and asked anyone with information about the van to contact them. The police confirmed that the van had solar panels and an AC unit on its roof.

Following the initial reports of the video on Friday, Sergeant Keith Greene of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station told local outlet The Signal that the authorities were investigating the "suspicious" incident, but stressed that "who knows what it could be."

Newsweek has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for comment.

A similar incident occurred in Los Angeles in 2019, when a woman was heard repeatedly screaming "somebody help me" before a vehicle drove away in an incident captured on a Ring doorbell camera, which often film incidents unrelated to the properties they are fitted in.

Following the incident, Los Angles police officers asked people to be on the lookout for a white four-door Toyota Prius with a broken front passenger window, but were unable to find any evidence of a kidnapping.

In July in Los Angeles a woman was allegedly held captive for days and sexually assaulted after meeting a man on the dating app Tinder.

The woman is said to have been held against her will in the home in Oakland, Los Angeles, for three days before managing to escape from the house and screaming for "someone to help her."

In a statement to Newsweek in July, Oakland Police confirmed that a suspect is in custody and the crime is still under investigation.

Van in Los Angeles
A still image of a van filmed in Los Angles on Thursday, August 12, that detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are asking help from the public to identify. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts