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Father, 19, arrested for kidnapping 3 young kids, battering their mother

CREATED Oct. 2, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct. 2, 2012

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  • Keller Russell reports Video by wtmj.com

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  • Video courtesy of the Menomonee Falls Police Department Video by wtmj.com

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  • Video courtesy of the Menomonee Falls Police Department Video by wtmj.com

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  • Lacey Crisp reports Video by wtmj.com

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MENOMONEE FALLS- What started out as an assault in Oshkosh led to a kidnapping in Fond du Lac and then a chase in Waukesha County with three small children in the car.

Oshkosh police the say the driver of that vehicle, 19-year-old Tou Thao punched the mother of his three children several times.  Then police say Thao went to Fond du Lac and grabbed the kids.  According to his public defender, all three kids ages 5, 3, 2 are Thao's.

Thao initially pulled off Highway 41 for police, but then took off.  He wasn't able to make the curve onto Highway 145, and rolled over with the three kids inside.

"There's always that concern when there are kids in the car," says Menomonee Falls Police Chief Anna Ruzinski.  "We also know that the children weren't properly secured.  The officers could see that at least one of the children was not seat belted. The speed never got above what would be the normal highway speed."

Thao jumped out of the car, and ran off but officers were able to catch him.  The three kids made it out of the ordeal safely.

"It was a great job by these officers. I would have to say almost textbook," says Ruzinski.  "We're very fortunate.  That's the main thing, that the kids are safe."

Thao was in Waukesha County court Tuesday, where he was given a cash bail at $250,000.  Thao is facing a laundry list of charges in Fond du Lac and Winnebago Counties.

Police say the children are now back with their mother.

This isn't Thao's first run in with the law.  In August, he was arrested for an OWI and fleeing an officer.