A convicted sex offender who led California state police on a 100-mile chase is held on $1 million bail after being charged with over a dozen crimes including spousal abuse and kidnapping.
Stephen Houk, 46, was placed on the Marion County Sherriff’s Office most-wanted offenders list for violating his parole, which stemmed from a 2002 child sex abuse case. He was arraigned Monday in Los Angeles on one count each of assault with a firearm, criminal threats, fleeing police, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and fugitive from justice, and two counts each of kidnapping, child abuse, injuring a spouse, and child detention.
California parole board officials noted that Houk would not return to Oregon to face parole-related supervision violations until the resolution of charges originating in California. The warrant for Houk will remain active in Oregon. He was arrested Thursday in the Mohave Desert after witnesses discovered him hiding in a rail car. Houk’s arrest came two days after he led police on a nearly four-hour chase from Hollywood to Bakersfield.
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, a domestic dispute between Houk and Houk’s spouse in the family’s RV escalated when he pointed a firearm at his wife. The couple’s two children, a 3-year-old boy and an 11-month-old daughter, were present during the argument. Houk then forced his wife out of the RV and sped off, leaving his wife to seek help from passersby.
Houk fled from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, where he drove erratically through the freeway, city, and busy parking lots with his children in the vehicle. Entering a rural area, Houk eventually stopped the RV while officers surrounded him. 45 minutes later, his son exited the RV, but Houk was nowhere to be found.
In the 48 hours that followed, Houk shaved his beard to mask his identity, slept outside of a public library, ate at a homeless shelter, and hopped onto a freight train destined for Arizona.
Houk’s conviction in Oregon stemmed from charges of sodomizing a minor in Lincoln County, south of Portland. He surrendered to police in this case, and pled guilty to felony sodomy after a deal was struck that resulted in dropped charges of sex abuse. Houk served eight years in prison.