The man found hiding in an empty train car after a two-search by police, was scheduled to be arraigned on charges that he kidnapped his two young children and fled from authorities in a motorhome.
Stephen Merle Houk, 46, was due in court Monday to answer to 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 was expected to be arraigned Monday in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Greg Risling, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release issued Monday.
Instead, Houk’s arraignment was continued to May 30.
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, Risling said.
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, according to Kahhana.
Houk drove away and stopped at a gas station. His wife eventually asked for help from a passerby who called for help. Houk fled when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded and a pursuit ensued.
Pursuing officers of the California Highway Patrol followed the motorhome to an almond orchard north of Bakersfield. The two children were found safe and unharmed in the motorhome.
The defendant, however, fled from the RV, the prosecutor said. He was later found in Barstow and arrested.
Prosecutors are recommending Houk’s bail be set at $1 million.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau.