Sunday, January 21, 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.

Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

WEEKI WACHEE — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday investigated the death of a Hillsborough County man in the Eagle’s Nest, an underwater network of caves where at least 11 others have died since 1981.Even experienced divers have lost th...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Published: 01/20/18

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Published: 01/20/18

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Published: 01/20/18

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Published: 01/19/18

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Published: 01/19/18
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Published: 01/19/18
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report. Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drownin...
Published: 01/19/18
Former youth football president accused of stealing $29,000 from Pinellas league

Former youth football president accused of stealing $29,000 from Pinellas league

PALM HARBOR — The former president of a local youth football league is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the group and using it in part to buy a mobile home.According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, deputies on Tuesday arrested L...
Published: 01/19/18
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

FORT LAUDERDALE — Rapper Kodak Black has been ordered held without bail in Florida on seven felony charges that include child neglect and drug possession.The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dieuson Octave,...
Published: 01/19/18