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Dozens of leads on Hakken family turn up nothing

TAMPA — Deputies say they got dozens of tips over the weekend. People up and down Florida's west coast thought they spotted the 25-foot sailboat that the Hakken family boarded Wednesday.

However, none of them led deputies to the correct boat or the Hakkens, said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

"We're happy that the message is getting out and people are looking," McKinnon said Monday. "The power of this investigation is in the public."

Joshua Hakken, 35, along with his wife, Sharyn Hakken, 34, and their two boys — Cole, 4, and Chase, 2 — are thought to be on a 25-foot sailboat that launched Wednesday from Madeira Beach, just hours after the kidnapping.

Hakken and his wife had lost custody of the children in June, and last Tuesday, the state of Louisiana severed their parental rights.

Authorities said Joshua Hakken was armed with a gun when he tied up his mother-in-law early Wednesday and kidnapped the kids from her house north of Tampa.

Deputies continued working with the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday to find the family.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Dozens of leads on Hakken family turn up nothing 04/08/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 8, 2013 11:24am]
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