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Crime & Courts

Search continues for abducted Tampa brothers

Published:   |   Updated: April 5, 2013 at 01:30 PM
TAMPA -

The hunt has gone national for two young brothers abducted Wednesday from their Tampa home, authorities said.

An Amber Alert in Florida continued Thursday for 4-year-old Cole and 2-year-old Chase Hakken. Investigators said their father, Joshua Hakken, kidnapped the boys a day after a Louisiana court awarded permanent custody to their maternal grandparents.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also issued an Amber Alert for the boys. According to the agency, a vehicle the Hakkens are believed to be in may have been seen in Etowah, Tenn., about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The Florida Amber Alert mentions they may be traveling to California or Arizona.

On Thursday night, a black 2006 GMC Sierra pickup registered to Joshua Hakken was found abandoned in a parking garage in Madeira Beach. Sheriff's detectives and crime scene technicians were at the scene processing the vehicle.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Col. Donna Lusczynski said her agency, the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are fielding tips from various states about the abduction. She would not specify how many or which states.

"We're working on getting information about the children on billboards in the southwest and southeast parts of the country," she said.

Dave Couvetier, a special agent with the FBI, said the primary goal is to make sure the entire family is safe.

"We're working on the safe return of the entire family, specifically the children," he said. "We don't anticipate or expect them hurting their children and hopefully we can put the family back together."

Joshua Hakken, broke into the Lake Magdalene home of his in-laws, at 14040 Shady Oaks Drive, about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and tied up his mother-in-law, Patricia Hauser, deputies said.

He woke up his sons and left the home in his mother-in-law's 2009 silver Toyota Camry with the two boys still wearing their pajamas, deputies said. About 30 minutes after they fled, Hauser was able to free herself and call 911, McKinnon said.

Hakken abandoned the Camry a few blocks from the crime scene, the sheriff's office said. Investigators found the car near the home.

Detectives think Hakken and the boys got into the GMC Sierra pickup and drove off in an unknown destination. Investigators believe Hakken's wife, Sharyn, was driving.

Investigators said the manner in which the brothers were taken leads authorities to believe they are in danger.

On Tuesday, Louisiana officials notified the Hakkens that their parental rights were terminated and turned the boys over to the Sharyn Hakken's parents, the sheriff's office said.

The ruling came a year after Joshua Hakken was arrested on drug charges in St. Tammany Parrish, La., and the children were placed in temporary foster care.

According to newspaper reports, Hakken was arrested in June 2012 on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a minor. Details and adjudication of the case were not available.

While Cole and Chase were in foster care, their father showed up at the building where they were located. He was beating on a front door and waving a gun, but never entered the secured building and left without the boys, the sheriff's office said.

When he was arrested, Joshua Hakken was in Louisiana for an anti-government rally, investigators said.

Those “anti-government” leanings are a concern, McKinnon said, “but we're staying focused and hope that we get them back safely.”

Hakken and his wife are considered armed and dangerous, McKinnon said.

“We're not ruling out any location,” McKinnon said. “They could be here locally. They certainly could have had enough time to get out of the state of Florida.”

The sheriff's office issued a warrant for the arrest of Joshua Hakken. He faces two counts of kidnapping, two counts child neglect, two counts false imprisonment, one count burglary with a battery and one count grand theft auto.

Sharyn Hakken does not face charges at this time in the abduction, McKinnon said.

Cole is 3 feet 9 inches tall and 44 pounds with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen wearing pajamas of an unknown color. Chase is 3 feet tall and 33 pounds with brown hair and eyes. He was also wearing pajamas of an unknown color.

Joshua Hakken, 35, is 5 feet 9 inches tall and 175 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes and a full beard. Sharyn Hakken, 34, is 5 feet 4 inches tall and 150 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.

According to property records, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken own a home at 3609 S. Sterling Ave. in South Tampa. The sheriff's office served a search warrant at the home Wednesday night and took items that might help in the investigation, McKinnon said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the children or parents should call 911 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

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