The incident happened at an apartment complex on the 1400 block of South Townsend Street. The 6-year-old girl and her 4-year-old friend were on their scooters playing in a walkway around 6 p.m. Sunday when, according to police, a man got out of a car parked in an alley and lured the child over with a piece of paper he said was for her mother.
"When he gets her attention he grabs her, takes her into the car and drives away. The 4-year-old immediately goes into the house, tells the family that somebody had taken the 6-year-old," said Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna.
Word of the girl's abduction spread quickly. The victim's older sister, Elizabeth Gutierrez, said she knew right away that something terrible was going to happen to her little sister.
"I mean, they don't just take kids for fun, they take them because they're sick and they like to do bad things to little kids," said Gutierrez.
Police said the suspect drove to a parking lot in the area, where he sexually assaulted the girl. About two hours later, she was spotted by a neighbor in the suspect's vehicle.
The neighbor chased the car. The suspect stopped the vehicle and pushed the girl out. She was brought home by the neighbor.
"This is a stranger abduction. Nobody knows this individual. He's not from the neighborhood. He's not part of the family," said Bertagna.
The suspect was described as a heavyset Hispanic man between 25 and 35 years old, standing about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was driving a smoke-gray 2-door sedan.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8497.