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Crime & Courts

Affidavit: Hakkens bought getaway boat in January

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Published:   |   Updated: April 12, 2013 at 03:10 PM
TAMPA -

The parents accused of abducting their sons and fleeing with them by boat to Cuba apparently began preparations for their journey in January and left a trail of false clues for law enforcement.

The investigation details, part of a newly unsealed federal affidavit, come as Joshua and Sharyn Hakken pleaded not guilty Friday to kidnapping and other charges.

Also, a judge signed an order that will keep them in jail without bail until their trial.

According to the affidavit, Joshua Hakken purchased a boat on Jan. 25 for $3,500, with a $3,000 down payment and $500 still owed. Hakken didn't have a place to store the vessel, so the seller sent him to a friend of hers who owned a boat slip.

The next day, Hakken paid the boat slip owner $400 to store the boat. He visited the boat once a week and loaded the cabin with boxes of supplies, according to the affidavit by FBI Agent Byron V. Ross.

Then between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. April 3, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken showed up at the boat with their two boys, 4-year-old Cole and 2-year-old Chase.

According to investigators, Joshua Hakken abducted the boys from their maternal grandparents' home earlier that morning.

The children were placed in the cabin and Joshua Hakken told the slip owner he needed to move his car for his brother to pick up later. He returned and told the slip owner he may be headed to Key West or South America, the affidavit states.

Investigators previously said the boat was seen on surveillance video sailing out of Madeira Beach.

Later that day, law enforcement searched the Hakkens' home at 3609 S. Sterling Ave.

According to the affidavit, investigators found a map with a thumbtack on Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Investigators also found a map of the forest in a trash bin.

Investigators interviewed people who said Joshua Hakken had said he would like to travel to the forest as well as Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina.

The affidavit was part of a federal criminal complaint filed under seal April 5 and dismissed by U.S. Magistrate Thomas McCoun on Thursday at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

On Friday, the Hakkens' public defender, Charles Traina, entered a written plea of not guilty during a brief hearing before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe.

On Thursday night, Traina told the court his clients waived the need for a pretrial detention hearing.

Tharpe signed an order Friday that will keep the Hakkens in the jail without bail until trial.

Their next court appearance, a disposition hearing, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 30.

Charges against the Hakkens include kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment, burglary and interfering with custody.

Authorities said the Hakkens lost custody of their boys after authorities found them in a Louisiana hotel room in June with drugs and weapons.

On April 2, the boys' maternal grandparents were granted custody.

A day later, Joshua Hakken broke into their North Tampa home, tied up his mother-in-law, took the children and eventually set sail from Johns Pass with his wife for Cuba, investigators said.

The boys are back at the home of their grandparents, Bob and Patricia Hauser. The Hausers said the boys are unaware they were the focus of a manhunt and are treating the trip to Cuba as a “vacation.”

During Thursday's first appearance, Judge Walter Heinrich told the Hakkens they are not allowed to see or talk to their children or Sharyn Hakken's parents.

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