A 21-year-old woman was raped Tuesday night after an armed man lured her into his van by asking for help with his sick child, police said.
Officer Mike Corcoran said the woman was walking in the alley behind a shopping center at the southwest corner of Beach Boulevard and Terry Drive about 6 p.m. Tuesday when she was approached by a man who pleaded for help with his child. The man told the woman that the youngster was inside a dark blue van and had stopped breathing.
The man coaxed the woman toward the van's open side doors and, as she peered inside, grabbed her and pushed her into the vehicle, Corcoran said. The attacker then pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill the woman, he said.
The woman, a Huntington Beach resident, was raped, then let out of the van, Corcoran said. The suspect fled.
Corcoran said the woman was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated and released.
The suspect is still at large. He was described as a Latino with short dark hair, about 30 years old, six feet tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was unshaven and wearing a turquoise T-shirt and gray sweat pants.
The victim described the van as possibly a late-model Dodge with tinted windows and a tire rack in the rear with no tire, Corcoran said. The vehicle's license plate is believed to contain the letters R and N and the number 4, he said.
Corcoran said that because of the partial license plate description, police believe they have a good chance of apprehending the suspect.
"I feel pretty confident with this one," he said.