TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – The man accused of kidnapping his two young sons and sailing to Cuba had spent weeks loading the family’s boat with supplies and had suggested the family might sail as far away as South America, according to court documents released Friday.
The affidavit’s release coincided with a hearing for Joshua and Sharyn Hakken in Tampa, though the couple did not attend. They were ordered to remain in jail without bond, which their public defender did not contest.
Federal prosecutors formally dropped their case against the couple Friday, though they still face kidnapping charges in Florida’s Hillsborough County. Their attorney entered not guilty pleas on their behalf Friday.
The affidavit detailing how the Hakkens prepared for the trip to Cuba was part of the now-closed federal case.
An unidentified witness told a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detective she had sold Joshua Hakken a boat for $3,500 in January and that Hakken paid $400 to store the boat at a boat slip. The witness said Hakken would visit the boat once a week and load boxes of supplies into the cabin. Last week, on the day the family disappeared, the Hakkens and their boys showed up at the boat and told the slip owner they were heading to Key West and possibly South America, the witness said.
The children’s grandparents said the boys are under the impression they merely went on vacation and aren’t aware of the criminal charges facing their parents.
Police say the Hakkens lost custody of their boys, ages 4 and 2, after authorities found them in a Louisiana hotel room with drugs and weapons.
Last week, the boys’ maternal grandparents were granted custody. That’s when police say Joshua Hakken broke into the home, tied up his mother-in-law, took the children and eventually set sail for Cuba.
Joshua and Sharyn Hakken arrived in Florida early Wednesday with their sons and the family dog, accompanied by federal, state and local authorities after being handed over by Cuban officials.
The couple’s next pretrial hearing is set for May 30.
Associated Press freelance writer Karen McAllister contributed from Tampa.
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