Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hakkens bought sailboat in January for Cuba trip

New documents unsealed Thursday report that Joshua Hakken bought this 25-foot 1972 Morgan sailboat on Jan. 25 for $3,500. He visited the boat once a week with boxes of supplies.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

New documents unsealed Thursday report that Joshua Hakken bought this 25-foot 1972 Morgan sailboat on Jan. 25 for $3,500. He visited the boat once a week with boxes of supplies.

TAMPA — Joshua Hakken appears to have planned his family's flight by sailboat for at least two months, according to federal documents unsealed Thursday.

He bought the 25-foot 1972 Morgan sailboat on Jan. 25 for $3,500. The next day, he paid a woman $400 to store his boat in her slip, according to a federal complaint. Hakken, 35, visited the boat once a week to load boxes of supplies into the sailboat's cabin.

On April 3, about one hour after he allegedly tied up his mother-in-law in her north of Tampa house and kidnapped his two young sons, the Hakken family showed up at the boat, which was docked in Madeira Beach.

Joshua and Sharyn Hakken put their boys, ages 2 and 4, into the cabin, and Joshua Hakken told the slip owner they may be heading to Key West and possibly South America.

These details are laid out in a criminal complaint filed April 5 in the U.S. Middle District of Florida court, when federal authorities were still considering federal charges against the Hakkens. The file was sealed until Thursday, after federal authorities decided not to file charges.

The hunt for the family ended this week in Havana, and the family was returned to Tampa early Wednesday through coordination between U.S. and Cuban authorities.

Joshua and Sharyn Hakken face state charges of kidnapping, child abuse, interference with custody, burglary with assault or battery, false imprisonment and grand theft motor vehicle, all filed by the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.

The couple is being held at the Falkenburg Road Jail without bail.

On Friday, assistant public defender Charles Traina filed "not guilty" pleas on behalf of both of his clients. He also agreed to not contest prosecutors' request that the Hakkens be held without bail until trial.

The next hearing is scheduled for May 30.

And though federal authorities have decided not to file charges, the recently unsealed documents provide a glimpse into investigators' work last week, as they searched for the family.

After the family's disappearance, detectives interviewed people who said Joshua Hakken had mentioned wanting to travel to Gila National Forest in New Mexico and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina.

When authorities searched the Hakkens' home in South Tampa, they found a map with a thumbtack placed at Gila National Forest. Investigators also found a map of the forest in a trash bin.

Most states quickly issued Amber alerts for the children, though it turns out that was unnecessary. The family was in the process of sailing 330 miles to Cuba.

The children are now at their grandparents house and, according to their grandmother, Patricia Hauser, believe they took a vacation with their parents.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at

Hakkens bought sailboat in January for Cuba trip 04/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 12, 2013 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault


    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  2. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]
  3. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
  4. Manslaughter charges eyed in deadly London fire sparked by refrigerator


    LONDON — Manslaughter charges are among the offenses under consideration in the devastating Grenfell Tower blaze that killed 79 people, London police said Friday.

    A view of part of the Burnham residential tower on the Chalcots Estate showing the bottom section of the building after cladding was removed, in the borough of Camden, north London, Thursday, June 22, 2017. Tests so far have found that at least three high-rise apartment buildings in the U.K. have flammable external panels like the ones believed to have contributed to a fire that killed 79 people in London, Britain's government said Thursday. The local council in Camden, a borough of London, removed cladding from one of its buildings for further testing after tests they commissioned showed some of their panels were of the flammable variety "and not the ones they ordered." It was unclear whether the Camden example was one of the three mentioned by the government. [Associated Press]
  5. PolitiFact: 6 questions about the Senate health care bill and transparency


    Now that a Senate health care bill has been unveiled, senators will be jousting over its provisions to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington on June 20. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)