Stephen Merle Houk is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges that he kidnapped his two young children and fled from authorities in a motorhome last week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Houk, 47, was charged in case BA467774 with two counts each of kidnapping, child abuse, injuring a spouse and child detention, and one count each of assault with a firearm, criminal threats, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon, fugitive from justice and transient’s violation of registration, a misdemeanor.
Houk is expected to be arraigned today (Monday) in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Deputy District Attorney Tal Kahana of the Child Abduction Section is prosecuting the case.
On May 1, Houk and his spouse got into a fight in the family’s RV parked in Malibu. The defendant is accused of pointing a loaded firearm at her and threatening to kill her. The two children, ages 3 and 1, were awakened by the commotion, the prosecutor said.
Houk drove away and stopped at a gas station. His wife eventually asked for help from a passerby who called for help. He fled when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded and a pursuit ensued.
Houk drove north on Interstate 5 and traveled through the Santa Clarita Valley.
The defendant eventually fled from the RV after stopping near Bakersfield, the prosecutor said. He was later found in Barstow and arrested.
Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $1 million. The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau.
Houk is also a registered sex offender and on parole for a sex offense in Oregon.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to extend the county’s rent eviction moratorium three months through Sept. 30 to allow residents more time to get back on their feet as the economy begins to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Los Angeles County Public Works was lauded this week for outstanding work in civil engineering and public infrastructure, including the Bouquet Canyon Road project, from local branches of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Public Works Association.
The Department of Motor Vehicles announced it is offering eligible Californians a free REAL ID upgrade for a limited time for anyone who received a driver's license or identification card during the pandemic.
The California Highway Patrol is partnering with 11 other highway patrols, state patrols and state police agencies for the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition traffic safety campaign beginning Friday, giving motorists “a dozen reasons not to speed.”
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has launched its summer campaign, “One Less Mosquito, One Less Worry” during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week to encourage residents to make mosquito control a part of their daily routine.