Video Of California Woman Screaming For Help During Alleged Kidnapping Stirs Debate About Bystanders

Would you record or intervene?

Video Woman Kidnapped Santa Clarita Van LA County Sheriffs Office / Twitter

A chilling cellphone video taken of a woman appearing to get abducted into a van is stirring up an online debate about the moral obligations of bystanders.

The video appears to show a woman pleading for help before being kidnapped in a van. The incident took place near Los Angeles and has been spread across social media. 

Video shows a woman allegedly being kidnapped in Santa Clarita. 

The video was taken on August 12th, 2021, and captures a possible kidnapping in the area of Calgrove Boulevard and Creekside Drive in Newhall. 


The footage, which is nearly two minute long, depicts a frightening scene in which a woman’s blood curdling screams for help are heard coming from inside a parked van. Alongside her cries is the voice of man recording footage without intervening in the incident. 


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The person recording yells out, "Stop," and frantically tells the person next to him to call 911. The woman responds with, "You call 911," which prompts the man to fire back with an incredulous, "I'm filming!"

Online, many criticized the video of the alleged kidnapping. 

While some users online are relieved the abduction was at least caught on camera so that footage can be distributed, others are less than happy about the lack of action taken.

In fact, the bystanders' exchange behind the camera is being met with fierce criticism. 


"Oh let's just film and not try to even attempt to go help!" one viewer wrote. "Go outside do something! 'I'm filming, I'm filming' yea a lot of good that did her," said another.

In the age of social media, capturing videos of potential crimes has been vital in bringing criminals to justice but there is, perhaps, something to be said for raising the alarm with police before taking out a camera. 

That said, attempting to stop the alleged kidnapper could have been extremely dangerous and the video taken has provide police with vital evidence. 

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Police are appealing for information about the alleged kidnapping. 

The LA County Sheriffs are currently working with the public to identify the van, which a light colored, Mercedes-Benz sprinter. Aftermarket solar panels and an AC unit  are attached to the van's roof. The van was last seen in the Santa Clarita area.

In a statement, police wrote, "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."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Nisenoff at (661) 799-5805. Anonymous tips can be left by calling “Crime Stoppers" at (800) 222-8477. 

For now, there are no recent updates on the women's whereabouts or identification.


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Yona Dervishi is a writer who is currently working at YourTango as an editorial intern. She covers topics pertaining to astrology, self-care, radical acceptance, news & entertainment. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College.