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Man missing after dog returns home alone with bloody leash

Los Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles Police Department

Los Angeles police are looking for a 22-year-old man who disappeared Tuesday night while walking his dog, which returned to his South L.A. home dragging a bloody leash, the man's fiance said.

Darwin Vela, 22, left his home in the 2900 block of South Redondo Boulevard about 9 p.m., police said. His fiance, Kelly McLaren, said she skipped their usual walk so she could shower.

"When I came out, I heard the dog crying," McLaren said. "He was outside alone and Darwin wasn't there."

The 90-pound chocolate Lab was "cowering," McLaren said. When she noticed blood on its leash, she called 911 "right away."

Officers searched the area, she said, and although a bloodhound briefly traced his scent, police found no sign of Vela. McLaren said he left his cellphone, wallet and keys at home and has not contacted family or friends.

Police told McLaren they would test the blood found on the dog's leash to determine whether it belonged to Vela, she said.

McLaren said her fiance has never disappeared without notice and is "not the kind of person to do that now."

He's especially close to his mother, who also lives in Los Angeles, she said.

"He wouldn't. Even if he could somehow leave me -- which he wouldn't, we're going to get married, we're starting a family -- he would never, ever leave his mother," McLaren said.

Police described Vela as Latino with black hair and brown eyes, about 5-feet-6 and 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark green beanie, a black shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts was asked to call detectives at (213) 996-1800 or (877) 527-3247. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477 or by texting 274637.

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+kate.mather@latimes.com

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