Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Public safety

Truck of missing Tampa couple and kids found abandoned

TAMPA — Joshua Hakken has previously planned suicide, court documents state. He has talked about taking a "journey to Armageddon."

When Hakken zip-tied his mother-in-law to a filing cabinet and kidnapped his two young boys Wednesday morning, authorities say he had a gun.

Before he left, she heard him say: "Phase one completed. Ready for phase two."

These details, released by Louisiana police and from a search warrant of his Tampa home filed Thursday, shed light on authorities' urgency in their nationwide search for Joshua Hakken, his wife, Sharyn Hakken, and their two boys — Cole, 4, and Chase, 2.

Late Thursday, detectives got a break when the couple's 2006 black GMC Sierra pickup was found at the John's Pass parking garage at 12901 Gulf Blvd. in Madeira Beach. Technicians scoured the truck for clues, but the parents and the boys were nowhere to be found.

Hillsborough deputies say Joshua Hakken, 35, kidnapped his children one day after the state of Louisiana severed his parental rights.

Though the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services won't discuss the case, public records detail a troubled past going back to last summer.

In mid June, the Hakkens attended an "anti-government" rally in Louisiana. But they didn't catch authorities' attention until police were called to their hotel room in Slidell, La.

The couple was acting bizarrely and talking about "completing their ultimate journey," according to information released by Slidell police Thursday.

Joshua Hakken talked about a fantasy series of books that had changed his life, called The Sword of Truth. He said he was heading to the "Valley of Rahaan."

He had his children with him.

He also had marijuana in the room — and a gun and large knife, police say.

Police charged Joshua Hakken with marijuana possession and put his young children in foster care.

About two weeks later, he showed up at the foster home in Hammond, La., waving a gun, police say. He ran away when the foster mother called 911.

Louisiana sent the children to Sharyn Hakken's mother, Patricia Hauser, who lives just north of Tampa. She was the one tied up Wednesday morning.

Forty minutes after Joshua Hakken left, she was able to free herself.

Hauser breathlessly called 911.

"Hi, my son-in-law just kidnapped my two grandchildren," she says in the recording. "They've been in state custody. … He's not supposed to be near them.

"He's been missing for nine months. He tied me up."

Hillsborough deputies quickly launched a search, which soon involved the FBI and AMBER alerts across the country.

The FBI and Hillsborough deputies declined to discuss specific leads but said they heard about sightings in "various" states.

Joshua Hakken faces several charges, including two counts of kidnapping, two counts of interference in child custody, two counts of child neglect, one count of false imprisonment, one count of burglary with battery, and one count of grand theft auto.

Sharyn Hakken has not been charged. Her role is unclear, but she was not seen during the kidnapping, said Hillsborough sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski.

Deputies assume, though, that she is with the rest of her family.

Authorities ask that anyone with information on the family's whereabouts call their local law enforcement agency.

Times news researcher John Martin and staff writer Philip Morgan contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

   
Comments
Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

ST. PETERSBURG — Caps and gowns were in the future for Bryson Welton-Williams and his two friends.Then came Tuesday’s horrific car crash.The three 18-year-old Lakewood High School seniors drove off from school a few minutes early, just 22 days away f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 17-year-old girl was killed Tuesday when her car was hit by a sport-utility vehicle that ran a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.One of the occupants of the SUV who ran from the crash scene was captured hours late...
Updated: 4 hours ago
He tried to rob two pharmacies. Both times he left empty-handed.

He tried to rob two pharmacies. Both times he left empty-handed.

TAMPA — Police are looking for a man who failed to rob two pharmacies last week.No one was harmed during the botched heists, but the man may be armed with a handgun, police said.Detectives on Tuesday released surveillance video that showed the man in...
Updated: 9 hours ago
FHP: Riverview motorcyclist critically injured in crash on I-4

FHP: Riverview motorcyclist critically injured in crash on I-4

TAMPA — A 41-year-old motorcyclist was critically injured in a Monday night crash on Interstate 4, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 7:15 p.m. Cristobal Padilla, of Riverview, was riding a 2004 Suzuki motorcycle in...
Updated: 9 hours ago
St. Pete police identify man wanted for stealing car — and baby

St. Pete police identify man wanted for stealing car — and baby

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are searching for a 19-year-old man accused of stealing a car left running with an 8-month-old baby left in the back on Monday.The baby was found unharmed by two WFLA-Ch. 8 journalists a short time later, according to St. Pete...
Updated: 9 hours ago
A Sarasota girl nearly dies after accidentally ingesting pool water

A Sarasota girl nearly dies after accidentally ingesting pool water

It started off like a regular pool day at her grandparent’s home. Elianna Grace, 4, and other kids were having fun, blowing water out of pool noodles at each other.Then, as Elianna was blowing water out one end of the noodle, someone else accidentall...
Published: 04/24/18
Buckhorn urged to name woman as fire chief in wake of discrimination suit

Buckhorn urged to name woman as fire chief in wake of discrimination suit

TAMPA — In the wake of a female firefighter’s victory against the city in a discrimination lawsuit, Mayor Bob Buckhorn is being urged to name a high-ranking woman to replace retiring fire Chief Tom Forward.Earlier this month, Buckhorn said he will na...
Published: 04/24/18
Tampa man faces murder charge in September slaying

Tampa man faces murder charge in September slaying

TAMPA — A 68-year-old Tampa man faces a charge of first-degree murder following his arrest Monday in the September death of an Osceola County woman.Evidence from the crime scene led officers to James Jackson, police said.According to police, the body...
Published: 04/24/18
Florida man said sex addiction caused him to attack two women

Florida man said sex addiction caused him to attack two women

CORAL SPRINGS — Police say a security guard arrested in connection with two attacks on women in a Florida neighborhood has told investigators he has a problem. The police report on the Sunday arrest of 25-year-old Dante M. Collins says he admitted tr...
Published: 04/24/18
Missing Wesley Chapel boy, 12, found safe

Missing Wesley Chapel boy, 12, found safe

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been cancelled for a 12-year-old boy in Wesley Chapel.Tyshawn Govan has been located and is safe, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The boy had last been seen Monday night near the 2200 block of Marsh Vi...
Published: 04/24/18