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Monday, Sep 22, 2014
Crime & Courts

Dad who abducted kids, fled to Cuba found insane

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Published:   |   Updated: January 22, 2014 at 01:08 PM

TAMPA — Doctors have concluded that Joshua Hakken isn’t fit to stand trial on charges he and his wife, Sharyn, abducted their children and fled with them to Cuba last April.

Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe said during a bench conference in court Wednesday that experts agree Joshua Hakken is insane. The judge expects to decide where to send him for treatment by March 4. At that time, Tharpe said he expects to receive a report on Sharyn Hakken. For now, the judge is deciding whether to commence a trial for Sharyn Hakken without her husband.

The couple were scheduled to go on trial Monday, but that has been put off.

Authorities said the Hakkens kidnapped their young sons from Sharyn Hakken’s parents in North Tampa after they lost custody of them following run-ins with police in Louisiana. The Hakkens sailed out of Madiera Beach to Cuba, were apprehended by U.S. authorities and sent back to Tampa.

Investigation documents released in the case in September showed that friends of the couple regarded them as paranoid and delusional even before the alleged abductions.

The documents painted a picture of a disturbed couple who had latched onto grandiose antigovernment, apocalyptic ideas with conflicting political beliefs.

For example, Joshua Hakken’s best friend, Stephen Joseph Morris, described Haaken as “delusional” and said Joshua Hakken believed the red-light cameras in Tampa were watching him and had plotted out where all the cameras were.

And Joshua Hakken believed the Air Force was using “chem trails of aircraft” to lace the sky to control people, according Jameson B. Rabbitt, who knew Joshua Hakken from when they both attended the University of South Florida. A mechanical engineer with a specialty in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Hakken built an elaborate filtration system in his house to filter out the chemicals the Air Force was putting in the air, Rabbitt said.

Also, Dorothea Moores, the mother of one of Joshua Hakken’s former Air Force Academy classmates, said she saw the Hakkens when they showed up at her home in Colorado a few months before the alleged abduction. She told investigators Joshua Hakken, who washed out at the academy, seemed paranoid and spoke at length about how people were chasing him and his wife. Another witness whose name is blacked out in documents told investigators the Hakkens had been living at the Land of Pines Campground in Louisiana and spoke about heading to Arizona for Armageddon. They were followers of fantasy author Terry Goodkind and spoke of “Temple of Winds” on the west coast and going to the “Valley of Rahaan.”

A bail bondsman who posted bail for Joshua Hakken in Louisiana told the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that Hakken was a “nut,” according to a report contained in the evidence materials.

Authorities said Joshua Hakken walked into his mother-in-law’s house in the Lake Magdalene area on April 3 and tied her up before grabbing his two sons, Cole, 4, and Chase 2.

The alleged kidnapping happened a day after a Louisiana court terminated the parental rights of Hakkens and granted legal custody to Hauser. The ruling said Joshua Hakkens had made an armed assault on a foster home where the children were placed, and came almost a year after a drug- and alcohol-fueled encounter between the Hakkens and law enforcement in St. Tammany Parrish, La., which resulted in the children being placed in state custody.

esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

813-259-7837

Twitter: @ElaineTBO

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