California authorities chasing after RV possibly carrying two kids

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday that a manhunt is under way for 46-year-old Stephen Houk.

Authorities have defended their approach to the chase and said they were treating it gently because there were children in the vehicle.

Police followed Houk from narrow surface streets in Hollywood more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) north to the agricultural heartland of California.

Stephen Houk, a 46-year-old parolee from OR who was possibly armed, was still at large Tuesday night after a standoff with deputies. They did find two young children inside, unharmed, who were identified as Houk's children.

The 11-month-old girl kidnapped Tuesday with a deputy after authorities found her and her brother safe in Bakersfield.

Los Angeles Police Department personnel assumed command of the pursuit, which was subsequently taken over by the California Highway Patrol when the suspect continued to flee in a motorhome on Interstate 5 going north.

Police then discovered the baby inside and Houk nowhere in sight. "All the forces came together and temporarily, they were on his side".

Later, Houk's wife told deputies that he had assaulted her earlier that morning and pointed a loaded gun at her.

The crime involved sex with a child under 14 years old but the circumstances were "too egregious to discuss", Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris told KNBC-TV.

It appears the family had recently traveled to California from OR but it's unclear whether they were living in the motor home, Harris said.

The chase ended in an almond orchard.

"At that time we knew the suspect was armed", Hernandez said.

The suspect, a 46-year-old Caucasian male, is also a registered sex offender out of the state of OR who was on parole for a sex offense.

Both children have since been reunited with their mother, and the suspect, believed to be armed and risky, remained at large as of 10:30 Wednesday morning.

Houk's last known address was in Keizer. He served eight years in prison.

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