Tampa couple in court on kidnapping charges - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa couple in court on kidnapping charges

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

A Hillsborough County couple accused of kidnapping their sons and taking them to Cuba appeared in court Monday. Judge Chet Tharpe scheduled a disposition hearing in the case for July 31.

Joshua and Sharyn Hakken lost custody of their children a year ago in Louisiana. A day after a judge officially awarded parental rights to their maternal grandmother in April, authorities said the couple carried out a plan to regain custody.

According to investigators, Josh Hakken tied up his mother-in-law at her Tampa home and kidnapped the 2 and 4-year-old. The family boarded a sailboat and sailed to Cuba.

They were quickly spotted, taken into custody, and forced back to Florida. The boys were reunited with their grandparents.

The Hakkens were ordered to stay in jail without bond. According to court records, they have hired private attorneys to represent them. If convicted of kidnapping, the Hakkens could be sentenced to life in prison.

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