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Truck of missing Tampa couple and kids found abandoned

Joshua Hakken
Joshua Hakken
Published Apr. 5, 2013

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.

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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 or (813) 226-3433.