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. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue


    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.

  2. Sunday Conversation: Roberto Torres talks immigration

    Human Interest


    Roberto Torres stands as one of the city's most impressive rising entrepreneurs. The owner of Blind Tiger Cafes, Black & Denim clothing company and CoWork Ybor has expanded his reach with locations at Tampa International Airport and The Morrison, a new mixed use development in the SoHo District. Torres, …

    Roberto Torres receives his American Dream award from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Aug. 15.
  3. Tampa police officer shoots man in Ybor


    A Tampa police officer shot a man while investigating a trespassing call at a vacant house on the eastern edge Ybor City early this morning, police officials said.

    Daniel Olinger, 68, was shot by an officer investigating a tresspassing call early Sunday morning. [Tampa Police]
  4. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]