Hakken Family being brought back to Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Hakken family land in Tampa

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Federal, state and local officials were on their way to Cuba to pick-up the Hakken family and to bring them back to Tampa on Tuesday night.

Local authorities credit "exceptional cooperation" from Cuba in bringing the Hakken family back to the United States.

The Cuban government said Tuesday that it will turn over the Hakken family to U.S. authorities who have been searching for the parents and their two young children.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been looking for the family since they say Joshua Hakken tied up the boys' grandmother and kidnapped Chase, 2, and Cole, 4. The grandparents had recently been granted custody of the two boys.

The Hakkens were spotted in Cuba after arriving in a boat Joshua Hakken recently purchased.  Video shot by  CNN shows a boy in a red shirt and a woman on the boat with the name "Salty" on the side at Hemingway Marina in Havana.  Florida law enforcement have been on the lookout for that boat since last week.

In its statement on Tuesday, the Cuban government said "the vessel arrived under less than favorable weather conditions," and that it had notified the U.S. government on Monday about the boat's arrival on Sunday.

There have been several sightings of the family since then. On Tuesday, the family was spotted going to a restaurant near the marina with security nearby, according to The Associated Press. A CNN reporter encountered the family on the boat, seeing a woman, one child and a man.

Last week, a search warrant for Joshua and Sharyn Hakken's home revealed what deputies seized from the location.  Authorities say bank paperwork, credit cards and a computer were among those items authorities carted out of the south Tampa home, where the couple ran an engineering firm.

We also now know from investigators that when Joshua Hakken took the boys, he made the comment, "Phase one completed, ready for phase two."

In an earlier interview, detective Larry Mckinnon said deputies knew this plan was well thought out.

Meanwhile, multiple agencies continue to search the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waterways for the 25ft blue sailboat named Salty.  Believed to be on board are Joshua and Sharyn Hakken and their two children Cole and Chase Hakken.

Included in the search are the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Coast Guard, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and many other law enforcement agencies from around the country.

Officials say all vessels in the area are requested to keep a sharp lookout for the sailboat, but stress to not approach the vessel as the occupants are considered to be armed and dangerous.  If the vessel is spotted, officials ask to immediately report it to the U.S. Coast Guard on channel 16 or by land line at 727-824-7506.

Hakken, the man believed to have kidnapped his two sons earlier this week, had recently purchased a sailboat, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday.

They said the sailboat left from Johns Pass Marina in Madeira Beach.

Deputies say they found a witness that observed a boat similar to one that was possibly missing, and had gone under the Johns Pass bridge a couple of hours after the initial abduction Wednesday morning.

HCSO deputies provided photos of the vessel. They said it was a 25 foot sailboat called "Salty."

They released this official description of the sailboat:

1972 Morgan 25M (25 foot) sailboat, blue bimini top, white mainsail, boat deck and cabin are white, hull is blue with "Salty" and a paw print in white on both sides with a white stripe near water line, bearing Florida Boat Registration #FL3717BK, HUL #M252099. Possibly a yellow horseshoe life preserver on deck.

"We've said all along, making irrational decisions doesn't always make you unintelligent. We know he's a very intelligent individual. He's an engineer," said Hillsborough County Sheriffs spokesperson, Larry McKinnon. 

"Wouldn't put it past them to be able to pull into one of these coves or one of these inlets and then board a vehicle. So we're not gonna eliminate our land search, we're still maintaining the amber alert. We're now expanding it into the Gulf of Mexico. " McKinnon said.

"Hopefully, we're going to find them soon. As we've mentioned before, our goal is to reach out to them in a peaceful manner and to allow them to open an exchange of communication and dialogue so we can get this resolved without anyone getting hurt. "

Investigators said Hakken broke into the boys' grandmother's house Wednesday, tied her up and grabbed the kids.  They fled in the grandmother's Camry. 

Authorities think his wife Sharyn Hakken joined them later, they ditched the Camry and took off in the pick-up truck.

Law enforcement offices in Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee all issued missing children and Amber Alerts to help find the boys.

The 2006 GMC pickup truck the Hakkens may have been driving was found Thursday night in a Madeira Beach parking garage. 

Forensics specialists processed the GMC in the Madeira Beach parking garage and a tow truck took it back to Hillsborough County. HCSO will impound it and continue to process it for evidence.

An experience boater and volunteer search and rescue participant, Craig Johnson says winds could be favorable for a trip across the Gulf, to Mexico. "If I was him, he's probably heading towards Cancun or Cuba. If he's going to Cuba, he's gotta go around Key West. That wouldn't be too smart" he said.

Investigators want this saga to end peacefully.

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