Two young kidnapped brothers are still missing, but police have found a vehicle used in their abduction. The discovery has provided possible clues to the whereabouts of Cole and Chase Hakken, who have been missing since Wednesday.
According to police, four-year-old Cole and two-year-old Chase were forcibly removed from their grandparents’ Tampa home by their father, Joshua Michael Hakken. New evidence suggests that Hakken may be holding the boys on a sailboat off the coast of Florida.
As previously reported in The Inquisitr, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken lost custody of their children last year. The young brothers have been living with their maternal grandparents for the past several months.
On Tuesday, a judge granted the grandparents permanent custody of the boys, a ruling that police believe may have prompted the abduction. The next day, 35-year-old Joshua Hakken reportedly entered the home and forcibly removed his sons.
According to police, Hakken restrained his mother-in-law by securing her wrists to a chair. He kidnapped the young brothers and fled the scene. Authorities believe that the boys, who quickly became the subjects of a multi-state Amber Alert, are now being held by both of their parents.
Authorities have indicated that the couple may have secured weapons and should be considered dangerous. Joshua Hakken reportedly has a prior criminal record.
Police reportedly received a tip pointing them to a vehicle believed to have been used to transport the kidnapped brothers. On Thursday, the Hakkens’ abandoned 2006 GMC pickup truck was recovered from a parking garage in Madeira Beach, Florida.
On Friday, police discovered that Joshua Hakken recently purchased a 25-foot sailboat. The search for the family has now broadened to include both water and land. Several agencies are currently assisting the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, including the FBI, in an effort to ensure that the kidnapped brothers are found.
According to Detective Larry McKinnon, “We continue to have full assistance and mutual cooperation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Coast Guard, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and many other law enforcement agencies from around the country.”
Police describe Hakken’s sailboat as a 1972 Morgan. The bimini top and hull are blue, while the mainsail, cabin, and deck are white. The name “Salty” is written across the sailboat’s hull and a white paw print is featured on both sides. The sailboat is marked by Florida Boat Registration number #FL3717BK, HUL #M252099.
According to police, the possibility remains that the Hakkens may have abandoned the sailboat and returned to land with the kidnapped brothers. However, police reportedly found evidence suggesting the sailboat was a premeditated part of the abduction plan.
“These are not dumb people.” explained Detective McKinnon. “They’re very intelligent people with some emotional issues. Our goal is to still resolve this peacefully.” Police indicate that although Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are believed to be armed and dangerous, they believe the kidnapped boys will be found unharmed.
[Top image via Shutterstock]