Parents Who Kidnapped Children Returned To United States

Two parents who kidnapped their children are on their way back to the United States. The couple fled with their two boys to Cuba over the weekend.

The couple, Josh and Sharyn Hakken, were returned to the United States early Wednesday, where they will be booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

The Hakkens will face federal and multiple state charges in their escape plan including kidnapping, auto theft, and child neglect. The couple allegedly kidnapped their children from their maternal grandparents, who received custody of the toddlers in early April.

The boys’ grandfather, Bob Hauser, stated of the two toddlers, “Our grandchildren are safe.” He also thanked the Cuban government “for being so cooperative and returning the kids.”

Josh Hakken allegedly entered the Hauser’s house and tied up the boys’ grandmother, Patricia. The trio then fled in her silver Toyota Camry. The vehicle was later discovered a few blocks from the home.

Florida investigators stated that the family boarded a sailboat in Madeira Beach and sailed into the Gulf of Mexico. From there, the parents who allegedly abducted their children made their way to Cuba. Cuban officials announced on Tuesday that they would turn the family back over to US authorities.

Problems with the Hakkens began last year when police discovered them in a hotel room with their boys surrounded by multiple weapons and drugs. The pair were also “acting in a bizarre manner.” The boys were placed in protective custody, but their father attempted to kidnap them at gunpoint.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee assured that, despite their ordeal, Cole, 4, and Chase, 2, are okay. Gee added, “Our understanding is that they’re doing well and we’re looking at them from a medical standpoint and all that will be checked out.” Once the boys get the medical all-clear, they will be returned to their grandparents.