BAKERSFIELD (CBSLA) – A registered sex offender who Tuesday led authorities on a wild three-and-a-half hour RV chase from Los Angeles up to Bakersfield, with his two young children inside, escaped and remains at large.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported Wednesday that 46-year-old Stephen Houk is a registered sex offender out of Oregon who was on parole at the time of the pursuit.
His kidnapped children, a 3-year-old boy and 11-month-old girl, were found safe at its conclusion, and have since been returned to their mother. The family dog was also found safe in the RV.
According to the sheriff’s department, deputies initially began chasing Houk’s RV earlier in the day through the streets of Valencia. However, they were forced to cancel that chase because of dangerous conditions.
The second pursuit started hours later, when Houk’s wife went to a sheriff’s station and told deputies that he had come to their house, and after a fight, had kidnapped their children. She described him as armed and dangerous.
Deputies began pursuing the RV at 2:30 p.m. in the Mid-Wilshire area, the sheriff’s department reports.
California Highway Patrol officers joined the pursuit, which wound through surface streets in North Hollywood and then made its way onto the 5 Freeway northbound. It continued through Newhall Pass, into Santa Clarita and north of Castaic.
The suspect then jumped onto State Route 99 towards Bakersfield.
The sheriff’s department reports that the chase finally came to an end at 6 p.m. in a dusty almond orchard in Bakerfield, at Merced Avenue and Zerker Road.
Houk’s two children were rescued from the RV as officers from several law enforcement agencies formed a perimeter around the area. However, by 11 p.m., authorities determined that Houk had escaped, LASD reports, and the containment area was broken down.
“We’re still not sure as to when he exited the vehicle,” CHP Officer Robert Rodriguez told reporters. “We believe, possibly, prior to us arriving on scene. There was quite a bit of a gap because of the unsafe conditions with the dust clouds. We believe there’s a possibility he may have escaped at that time.”
Houk is wanted for charges of assault with a deadly weapon, child abduction, terrorist threads and evading. He is described as white, 5-foot-11 with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a cow skull on his right forearm. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information on Houk’s whereabouts should call LASD at 661-255-1121.