Postie Jack Doyle - who has since died - said: "I told her to be careful and watch herself."
Mr Doyle, then 44, spoke to police hours after the naked body of his daughter, Elaine, was found in a lane just yards from her Greenock home almost 28 years ago.
He told them her bed had not been slept in and that he knew "deep down" that the early morning police activity might have something to do with his daughter.
His statement was read to the High Court in Edinburgh during the evidence of retired detective inspector James Goldie, 76, who broke the news to the Doyle family on June 2, 1986.
Mr Doyle told the detective that his 16-year-old daughter had recently left Notre Dame school in Greenock and had a £27-a-week job in a jeweller's shop.
She was planning a holiday at Butlins in Ayr with a pal.
Mr Doyle also revealed that although Elaine never stayed away all night without telling her parents, there had been a previous occasion when he called police because she hadn't turned up on time.
Elaine was brought home in a police car by officers who said she had been found talking to a boy and they added: "The boy is a baddy and not suitable for Elaine."
Mr Doyle described how his daughter got "dressed up" on the Sunday and he thought she was going to a disco in a Celtic Supporters' Club.
She left her home in Ardgowan Street in a hurry to meet her friend, Lynn Ryan, but phoned her dad later.
"She said she would be home between 12.30am and 1am. I told her to be careful and watch herself," said the statement.
Mr Doyle told how he woke at 5am - the time he usually got up for work - and saw Elaine's bed was empty. He wanted to call Lynn's parents but his wife, Maureen, said it was too early.
"Shortly afterwards I went to the window and saw all the police activity. My wife said 'It is something to do with Elaine'. I tried to re-assure her but deep down I knew it could be."
Mr Doyle said he gave a description of his daughter to a police officer. Mr Goldie then visited him to say: "A young girl had been found dead and they had reason to believe it could be Elaine."
On trial is John Docherty, 49, now of Dunoon.
He claims that at the time he is alleged to have stripped and strangled Elaine Doyle, 16, he was at home with his parents, who are no longer alive.
He denies a murder charge which alleges that on June 2, 1986, in a lane near Elaine Doyle's home in Ardgowan Street, Greenock, he seized her by the hair, struck her on the head and either removed or compelled her to remove her clothing.
The charge goes on to allege that Docherty forced Elaine to the ground, pushed her face into the ground, sat or knelt on the teenager then placed a ligature round her neck and strangled her.
The trial continues.