FBI agents say they treated the kidnapping of the Hakken boys as a hostage situation

TAMPA, FL - FBI agents and Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies say the Hakken family is in custody and headed back to the Tampa Bay area.

According to agents, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are handcuffed, and not seated with their children.  They also said there are victim's advocates and counselors working with Cole and Chase.

"This is very surreal," said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.

It was almost one week ago that deputies say Joshua kidnapped his children from their maternal grandmother's Tampa home.  It is alleged that he tied up the grandmother with zip ties. They say he then boarded the boys on to a sailboat along with his wife and headed to Cuba.

Authorities say both parents are facing kidnapping, child interference with child custody and neglect charges. FBI special agent David Couvertier also said they treated this kidnapping as a 'hostage situation' and did not consider it 'typical.'


Bob and Pat Hauser said they did have a phone conversation with their grandsons before they took off for the U.S.  They said they are thankful to all the law enforcement that helped in this search and for bringing these boys safe. 

"The Cuban government was amazing," said Bob Hauser.

The Hausers said they are looking forward to getting the boys home into their arms and requested privacy over the next few days.

Sources close to the case told ABC Action News the Hauser family intends to talk with media 24 hours after they are reunited with the boys and that the boys will be present.


FBI agents could not say if the Hakkens tried to run or cooperated with the authorities.  They also could not say whether there were guns on board the sailboat.

In the next 24 hours, the Hakkens will be booked into the Hillsborough County Jail and the children will be returned to their maternal grandparents.

The Hakkens are also facing federal charges.

The family dog, a rat terrier name Natti, was also on the sailboat.  FBI agents say they have custody of the dog and the dog will be given to the boys once they land.

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