Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a 16-year-old Ukiah boy wanted in connection with a New Year's day stabbing that left a man in critical condition.

Victor De La Cruz, 16, of Ukiah, is suspected of stabbing the man in the torso and neck during the 4:45 a.m. altercation. The man was taken to the Ukiah Medical Center and later transferred to another medical facility outside of Mendocino County, according to Sgt. Jason Caudillo. His name and current location are not being released because of concerns over retribution, Caudillo said.

The incident occurred after De La Cruz is believed to have been walking down Campbell Drive on the Coyote Valley Reservation in Redwood Valley with two juvenile girls.

"There was a disturbance in the street that the victim went out to investigate," Caudillo said.

An argument between De La Cruz and the adult ensued and continued as the parties moved approximately 200 yards down the street, Caudillo said.

It was there that the altercation turned physical and the man was stabbed, according to authorities.

The weapon has not been recovered and the victim's medical condition has prevented him from being interviewed, Caudillo said.

"After the stabbing, the suspect fled the area," he said.

It was unclear Thursday whether the victim and the suspect knew each other prior to the incident.

Staff Writer Kerry Benefield can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press or on Twitter @benefield.