The kidnapped brothers have been found in a hotel room as their parents, a Florida couple, are on the run. Police believe they may have taken a sailboat after their pickup truck was discovered abandoned.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that 35-year-old Joshua Michael Hakken recently bought a 25-foot 1972 Morgan sailboat with a blue hull with the word “Salty” painted on it and white paw prints on both sides. The boat’s whereabouts are unknown. The vessel bears Florida Boat Registration #FL3717BK, HUL #M252099.
There may be a yellow horseshoe life preserver on deck.
Hillsborough Sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said that the U.S. Coast Guard along, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission and other agencies will be searching for the boat on the water and from the air.
The official said that it appears that boat was part of the Hakkens’ coordinated abduction plan, and that it is possible that they have returned back on dry land and switched to another vehicle by now.
“These are not dumb people. They’re very intelligent people with some emotional issues,” McKinnon said. “Our goal is to still resolve this peacefully.”
According to McKinnon, after ditching their GMC pickup truck in a parking garage in Madeira Beach near the marina on the day of the kidnapping, the parents and their toddler sons, Cole and Chase, were seen sailing in their boat underneath the John’s Pass Bridge towards the Gulf of Mexico.
Law enforcement officials will be checking all inlets and intercoastal waterways from the Panhandle in all the way to Naples in search of the family.
The pickup truck that police say Hakken had used to abduct his two sons from their grandmother’s home earlier this week was found abandoned in a Madeira Beach parking garage Thursday night.
Officials searching for Cole and Chase Hakken came across the black 2006 GMC pickup belonging to the boys’ father, 35-year-old Joshua Hakken, on the second floor of the John’s Pass garage at 12902 Gulf Boulevard.
Detectives and crime scene investigators who arrived on the scene just before 11pm inspected the vehicle for any clues that may lead them to the Hakkens before the empty truck was towed away.
The abduction came just days after the Hakkens lost their parental rights. Their sons’ grandmother Patricia Hauser has been granted permanent custody of the two brothers.