Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

Authorities: Tampa dad on run after kidnapping sons

TAMPA — The clean-cut neighbor who walked his "adorable" preschool son across the street to buy an aquarium at Stephanie Coates' garage sale a year ago bears little resemblance to the bearded fugitive detectives were hunting Wednesday night.

Joshua Hakken, authorities said, lost custody of his two sons last year after a drug-possession arrest in Louisiana. He later tried to take them from a foster home at gunpoint, officials said.

On Wednesday, one day after being stripped of his parental rights, he went to his mother-in-law's home north of Tampa, tied her up with zip ties and kidnapped his sons, ages 2 and 4, authorities said.

"Maybe something happened to him," Coates said. "He doesn't seem like the same guy."

What happened is what detectives are trying to determine.

Authorities said Hakken, 35, broke into Patricia Hauser's house at 14040 Shady Shores Drive at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday, moments after her husband, Robert, had left for his job as director of Pinellas County's solid waste division.

After tying her up, authorities said, Hakken rounded up his sons, 2-year-old Chase and 4-year-old Cole, still in their pajamas, and drove away in Hauser's Toyota Camry.

About two hours later, Hauser freed herself and called 911.

Hauser's car was found a few blocks from her home. Detectives think Hakken and the boys are now traveling in his black 2006 GMC Sierra pickup truck, which has a University of South Florida vanity plate with tag number U95KT.

Detectives also think the children's mother, Sharyn Patricia Hakken, 34, might have dropped her husband off at her mother's house and was waiting in the pickup truck when he came out with their sons.

Authorities issued a statewide alert and said the parents may be armed. "We do feel that they are in danger," sheriff's Cpl. Kevin Bodie said of the boys.

The Sheriff's Office said it had obtained a warrant for Joshua Hakken's arrest on two counts of kidnapping, two counts of interference with child custody, two counts of child neglect, one count of false imprisonment, one count of burglary and battery and one count of grand theft auto.

The agency said no charges have yet been sought against Sharyn Hakken.

The children had been living with their grandparents since last year. They were taken from their parents after an altercation in Louisiana, authorities said.

Joshua Hakken was arrested in a hotel there on drug charges — apparently with his children present — after attending an "antigovernment" rally, the Sheriff's Office said.

Sometime after the arrest, the state of Louisiana took custody of the children and placed them in foster care. But Hakken showed up at the foster care facility waving a gun and banging on the door, the Sheriff's Office said. He wasn't able to get in and fled.

On Tuesday, a Louisiana court notified the Hakkens that it had terminated their parental rights.

Bodie said Joshua Hakken is an engineer who owns a business in South Tampa. Both Hakkens have been certified as engineers — mechanical for him, civil for her — but records show both licenses expired in February.

In February 2012, someone writing as "SailingBull" posted to the website for Adam vs. The Man, a forum "about challenging authority, sticking it to the man, and giving the millennial generation a voice."

"My name is Joshua Hakken," he wrote. "I am a father, a registered professional mechanical engineer and a veteran of the USAF. I am absolutely devoted to life, liberty, the rights of the individual and the Constitution of the United States of America. "

After saying that he had noticed that "things here in Florida have not added up for quite some time," he concluded, "in these crazy times, maintaining open communication lines for ideas, observations and news is absolutely crucial if the 'good guys' are to be successful in surviving to maintain the fight of ideas."

The Hakkens own a home in the Virginia Park neighborhood south of Palma Ceia. As detectives searched the home Wednesday evening, neighbors recalled a family that didn't stand out.

"Like normal neighbors," said computer programmer Robert Lucas, 38, who lives behind the Hakkens. "Not outgoing, but they didn't seem like bad people at all."

On a few occasions, Joshua Hakken chatted with neighbor Lindsay Fleming about being an engineer or watched jets from the MacDill Air Force Base AirFest.

The Hakkens were USF fans who flew green-and-gold flags on game day and sometimes had a few friends over.

But one day, the couple had their sons out on their semi-circular lot along Sterling Avenue. One was young enough to have a stroller, and the parents were smoking marijuana, Fleming said. Mrs. Hakken asked Fleming if he wanted a hit, but Joshua Hakken seemed uncomfortable with the offer, Fleming said.

Neighbors remembered the Hakkens keeping a pop-up camper and a sailboat in their driveway. Wednesday night, both were gone.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writer Anna M. Phillips contributed to this report.

     
Comments
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Tampa bicyclist, 52, dies after being rear-ended by vehicle; no charges

TAMPA — A 52-year-old man riding a bicycle was killed early Friday when he was struck from behind by a car in Seminole Heights, according to Tampa police.The incident took place at about 12:15 a.m. Wayne Kersh, 52, was riding his bicycle in the eastb...
Updated: 8 hours ago
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Updated: 11 hours ago

FHP: Overturned pick-up slowed traffic on northbound Howard Frankland

ST. PETERSBURG — A pick-up truck towing a car onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge overturned and crashed on the shoulder, causing back-ups for motorists trying to get to Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The incident was reported...
Updated: 11 hours ago
New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

The Miami Beach-based Animal Recovery Mission has released a video from its undercover abuse investigation at a Central Florida dairy farmThe graphic video, with disturbing images of cows cruelly being beaten, speared, stabbed and burned, was shot by...
Published: 12/15/17

Missing Child Alert canceled for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.The case involving Heaven Flores has been resolved, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Published: 12/15/17

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Published: 12/15/17
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Published: 12/14/17

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Published: 12/14/17