Officials on Friday detailed how a convicted sex offender who led an RV pursuit across Los Angeles and Kern Counties with his two young children inside managed to evade authorities for two days before he was taken into custody.
Stephen Houk, 46, was arrested in Barstow Thursday after being on the lam for two days following a lengthy pursuit. He was found in a train car about 100 miles from where authorities last spotted him.
Houk, a convicted sex offender, allegedly head-butted and threatened his girlfriend with a gun on Tuesday and then took off with their 3-year-old and 11-month-old children. He led authorities on a lengthly pursuit that began in Mid-City before driving into an almond orchard in Bakersfield, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Eddie Hernandez said during a news conference.
The children were rescued when the pursuit ended.
Houk then hid in the foliage of the orchard and avoided highways for about three hours before finding shelter at a local library, Hernandez said. Houk shaved his beard and stayed at a homeless shelter, where he got food and rest.
At one point he got on a train he thought was bound for Arizona. The train stopped in Barstow, where authorities finally caught up with Houk.
Authorities said Houk had not reported to his parole officer in two years after being convicted of sodomy in Oregon in 2002. He apparently avoided capture by driving with his family through Arizona and California.
He was arrested on suspicion of 14 felony charges including kidnapping with the use of a firearm and felony evading. His bail was set at $1 million. He faces 75 years in prison if convicted.
Houk’s girlfriend and children are under protected custody and the Department of Children and Family Services will determine who will take custody of the kids.