Man Who Attacked Wife, Forced her to Panhandle, & Kidnapped Kids Receives His Sentence
MALIBU – A sentence of more than 80 years in state prison was handed down to a father who kidnapped his two young children. After attacking his wife in their RV, he fled their Malibu location, then forced her to panhandle.
The 10-month-old and three-year-old and were awakened on May 1, 2018 when Stephen Merle Houk (dob 5/14/71) pointed a loaded gun at their mother and threatened to kill her.
Houk drove off, stopped at a gas station, then headed to a Santa Clarita coffee house where he forced his injured wife to panhandle. She asked for help from a passerby, who called law enforcement.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies’ response caused Houk to flee, and a pursuit ensued. “The defendant eventually fled from the RV after stopping near Bakersfield,” said prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Tal Kahana of the Child Abduction Section. “He was later found in Barstow and arrested.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau investigated Case BA467774.
“Houk pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of failing to register as a sex offender prior to trial,” said the DA’s Office. “Last month, jurors found Houk guilty of 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 and possession of a firearm by a felon.”
Houk was sentenced to 88 years and four months in prison on September 4th of 2019.