Missing Tampa family, subject of Amber Alert, may be in Cuba

April 8, 2013 

TAMPA -- The Hakken family may be in Cuba.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office say they got information Monday afternoon that the family arrived in Cuba.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office says they are working with the FBI and the US State Dept. to confirm this.

The Amber Alert for two missing Tampa boys entered its sixth day on Monday.

An Amber Alert was issued for 4-year-old Cole Hakken and 2-year-old Chase Hakken after authorities say their father, 35-year-old Joshua Michael Hakken, entered his mother-in-law's house in north Tampa, tied her up and left with the children Wednesday afternoon. The children's mother, 34-year-old Sharyn Patricia Hakken, is believed to be with them.

Search expands on water

Deputies say they received dozens of tips over the weekend about potential sightings on the water but none have panned out. Officials continue to search the Florida waterways from Key West to Pensacola. "We expanded that search up and down the Florida West coast, which we all know is quite an extensive area," said HCSO spokesperson Det. Larry McKinnon. "That of itself, you add in harbors, byways, canals, all the intercoastal waterways throughout the west coast of Florida. That’s a vast area."

As Florida Fish and Wildlife officers are searching offshore along the Gulf of Mexico, the Amber Alert issued for the boys has been modified to include only states that border along the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, other agencies, including the FBI, continue to aid in the search for the family. Investigators are now hoping the Hakkens have a change of heart.

"Nobody's been hurt. This is not the end. This is something they can come forward and help try to resolve," said Det. McKinnon. "Who knows, we're not going to rule out they could get their kids back. It would take a lot of work and effort but that possibility exists. That's only going to exist if they come forward." Father purchased sailboat

On Friday, authorities said they've obtained information that Joshua Hakken recently purchased a sailboat.

At least one witness said the 25-foot boat was spotted going underneath the John’s Pass Bridge last week.

The sheriff's office says Hakken has sailed before. "I don't want to say extensive, but we do know he has some sailing training and some sailing experience, so he is capable of operating that boat,” said Det. McKinnon.

The boat is described as a 1972 Morgan 25M (25 foot) sailboat, blue bimini top, white mainsail, boat deck and cabin are white, hull is blue with “Salty” and a paw print in white on both sides with a white stripe near water line, bearing Flo.

More details on the children

Chase Hakken is 3 feet tall, weighs 33 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing pajamas. Cole Hakken is 3 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 44 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. He was also last seen wearing pajamas.

Deputies spent Wednesday afternoon and evening at the parents' home, searching for any clues that might indicate where they would go. Detectives said the parents should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 911 or to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

SUV located

On Thursday evening, officials located the vehicle they believe the boys were traveling in with their parents. The 2006 GMC pickup truck belonging to the family was located in the John's Pass Parking Garage located at 12901 Gulf Blvd in Madeira Beach.

Officials said the vehicle was located after receiving a tip.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which set up a command post at its Falkenburg Road office to receive calls and tips regarding the case, said it is following numerous leads. The Amber Alert has been modified to include only states that border along the Gulf of Mexico. Timeline of events in the case

April 8 - Search for missing family enters Day 6. Deputies receive dozens of tips over the weekend about potential sightings on the water but none pan out. April 7 - Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, FWC and other agencies, including the FBI, continue to aid in the search for the family. April 6 - The Amber Alert issued for the boys modified to include only states that border along the Gulf of Mexico. April 6 - Florida Fish and Wildlife officers begin extensive search offshore from Pensacola to the Florida Keys. April 5 - At least one witness said the 25-foot boat was spotted going underneath the John’s Pass Bridge. April 5 - Detectives release information that Joshua Hakken had recently bought a sailboat. Boat is described as a 1972 Morgan 25M (25 foot) sailboat, blue bimini top, white mainsail, boat deck and cabin are white, hull is blue with “Salty” and a paw print in white on both sides with a white stripe near water line, bearing Flo. April 4 - Official locate the vehicle they believe the boys were traveling in with their parents. The 2006 GMC pickup truck belonging to the family was located in the John's Pass Parking Garage located at 12901 Gulf Blvd in Madeira Beach. April 3 - An Amber Alert is issued for the boys at 1:30 p.m. April 3 (morning) - Police say Joshua Michael Hakken, 35, father of Cole Hakken, 4, and Chase Hakken, 2, kidnapped the boys from theor grandmothers home in north Tampa. Officials say the Joshua Hakken tied up his mother-in-law before taking the boys.

Previous attempt to take the children, officials say

According to authorities, Hakken was previously involved in an attempted armed abduction of their children in Louisiana.

Officials said they have so far been able to determine that Joshua Hakken was arrested in a hotel on multiple drug charges in St. Tammany Parrish, Louisiana, where he had just attended some type of anti-government rally.

Slidell police say were called to the hotel in June in reference to a disturbance involving Mr. and Mrs. Hakken. Police say when they arrived the parents were acting in a bizarre manner that alarmed officers.

Police say they were talking about “completing their ultimate journey” and were traveling across the country to “take a journey to the Armageddon.” Police say both of the children were present in the hotel at the time.

Police say based on the parents’ behavior and the fact narcotics and weapons were inside the hotel room, officers called the Office of Child Services, who determined the children were in danger and needed to be taken into custody and temporarily placed in a foster home.

"This is not really about anti-government at this point," said David Couvertier, FBI. "Individual beliefs, people in our country should believe in whatever you want to believe in. It's the manner in which the kids have been taken is what concerns law enforcement and the reason we've taken the steps we have taken."

Joshua Hakken was placed under arrest and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and the use of a controlled and dangerous substance in the presence of minors. Officers also took custody of the guns.

Two weeks later, police say they were notified Joshua Hakken had shown up at the foster family home with a firearm demanding the return of his children. The foster parents called 911 and police say Hakken fled without his children.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service