A Florida couple is currently believed to have kidnapped their two sons -- 4-year-old Cole and 2-year-old Chase -- from the woman's parents and hiding out in Cuba, according to authorities.
The Daily Mail UK reports that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office believes the father, Joshua Michael Hakken, broke into his mother-in-law's home on Wednesday, zip-tied her up, and took his two sons. For the past year, the boys have been living with their maternal grandmother after she was granted permanent custody. The parents lost custody last year after the father was arrested in Louisiana with possession of drugs, and then later tried to kidnap his children from a foster home at gunpoint.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that last June, Hakkens and his wife, Sharyn Hakken, attended an "anti-government" rally in Louisiana and the authorities were called to their room. The couple was talking about "completing their ultimate journey" and claimed to be heading to the "Valley of Rahaan." Hakken was in possession of marijuana, a gun, and a knife.
The two children were placed in foster care and two weeks later, Hakken showed up at the foster care residence waving the gun. He ran off once the mother called 911. After this debacle, the state of Louisiana sent the children to live with Sharyn Hakken's mother.
The grandmother, Patricia Hauser, told the Louisiana police that she saw her son-in-law had a gun and heard him say: "Phase one completed. Ready for phase two."
"These are not dumb people. They're very intelligent people with some emotional issues,' Hillsborough Sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said to Daily Mail UK of the parents, who have been referred to as "anti-government" by authorities. "Our goal is to still resolve this peacefully."
According to Sheriff's Cpl. Kevin Bodie, Hakken is a mechanical engineer with his own business and his wife is a civil engineer. Daily Mail reveals that Sharyn Hakken's Facebook page states she has a Bachelor's degree from University of South Florida in geotechnical engineering in 2001 and a Master's degree from USF in civil engineering in 2008.
Authorities were recently able to confirm that the 35-year-old father purchased a 25-foot 1972 Morgan sailboat and the 2006 black GMC Sierra pickup that the family was traveling in was found in an abandoned parking garage in Mandeira Beach. The running theory is that the couple drove in the pickup and took the sailboat to Cuba.
The sheriff's office has issued a warrant for Joshua Hakken. He faces two counts of kidnapping, two counts of child neglect, two counts of false imprisonment, one count burglary with battery, and one count grand auto theft. As of now, Sharyn Hakken has not been charged since her role in the kidnapping is yet to be determined.