As the sun set, searchers had come up empty. But investigators said they believed that an assault and a kidnapping did take place and they were searching for a victim and suspect.
Witnesses heard the girl screaming and saw her being dragged away by the suspect around 8 p.m. Monday at the El Sereno Recreation Center in the 4900 block of Klamath Street.
According to witnesses, the girl, believed to be between 13 and 15 years old, appeared to be arguing with the suspect. Los Angeles Police Lt. Andy Neiman said the suspect struck the girl at least once in the face and dragged her up into the brush by the hair.
Witnesses followed the two and saw him removing some of the girl's clothing, which they say included pants, leggings, a shirt and shoes.
The suspect was described as a Hispanic male between 18 and 20 years old, 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds with clean-cut dark hair. He was wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans.
Police scoured the 350-acre area into the night and briefly stopped at 4 a.m. because it became too dark to search the steep terrain. They were able to recover some items of clothing, including shoes, a shirt and pants, believed to belong to the girl.
A command post was established next to Wilson High School and several agencies assisted in the search. A helicopter, K-9 units, Urban Search and Rescue and mounted police officers combed the hills. There were no reports of a missing person in the area, but authorities said they were concerned for the safety of the girl and continued their search until nightfall.
Authorities said several people have called to report a missing person, but none of those were linked to this case.
Investigators were following leads to try to figure out what happened. They said they have been checking hospitals and schools, but did not find a match.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-(877) LAPD-24-7.