Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Hakkens bought sailboat in January for Cuba trip

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 [email protected]

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