Investigators believe a fugitive father stole a car for his getaway with his four small children after he led officers on a multi-county chase.
Noe Soto-Aranda, 31, and his children remained missing Friday. Deputies said he broke into a travel-trailer after abandoning his pickup truck in Sealy on Wednesday night. Officials believe he may be in a stolen car headed toward the Mexican border.
Soto-Aranda is accused of leading officers on a high-speed chase after getting into a fight with his pregnant wife, Luz Lacayo, on the Southwest Freeway Wednesday evening. Lacayo said Soto-Aranda wanted her to drive faster, but she refused.
"I was driving because he was drinking," Lacayo said.
When Lacayo pulled over on Bissonnet and the Southwest Freeway, she tried to get her kids out of the pickup truck, but Soto-Arando took off with the kids inside, officials said. Police said Soto-Aranda caused one accident in Stafford.
Officers and deputies followed but lost him in the Richmond/Rosenberg area. About 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, DPS spotted Soto-Aranda's truck and chased it along Oilfield Road and FM 3013. The truck was found a short time later in Sealy in Austin County.
Texas EquuSearch looked for the children in the area, but did not find them.
Investigators believe Soto-Aranda and his children slept at a home in the 5200 block of F.M. 3013 on Wednesday night.
"There's a travel-trailer behind the house that looks like people slept there and there was an ice cream container with four spoons in it," said Sgt. Matt Ochoa with Texas Department of Public Safety. "This is a very good sign."
Ochoa said that evidence leads them to believe the father and his four children are still together and that Soto-Aranda is trying to take care of them as best he can.
"Our main concern is the safety of the children," Ochoa said. "Somebody ripped open the wall and made entry. That's where we found a pallet and it looks like small people had been sleeping."
After sleeping there for the night, Ochoa said Soto-Aranda is believed to have stolen a car from a nearby home. A 2011 red Hyundai Sonata was missing from the driveway with a Texas tag of CV2 X779.
A ground search for the family was called off Friday as officers looked for the vehicle in a statewide manhunt. Lacayo was questioned by investigators as to where she believes Soto-Aranda may have fled.
Soto-Aranda is the biological father of the four young children -- one girl and three boys between the ages of 3 and 8 years old. Friends said his wife is expecting their fifth child in a few weeks. Police said Soto-Aranda and Lacayo got into a fight at a hospital earlier in the day.
Police said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are also looking for Soto-Aranda. He was charged with domestic abuse in 2009 in connection with a case that apparently involves his mother-in-law.
Soto-Aranda is facing three new charges in connection with Wednesday's chase -- assault of a family member, endangering a child and evading arrest.
Police said an Amber Alert was not issued because the case does not meet the criteria. Soto-Aranda does not have a history of violence against the children and they are his biological children. Investigators said an Amber Alert could be issued later if warranted.