Video of the Hakkens taken in a holding cell exposes details in kidnapping case involving their sons

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - The State Attorney's Office released hundreds of documents, audio files and videos pertaining to a Tampa couple accused of kidnapping their sons and setting sail to Cuba back in April.

Joshua, 45, and Sharyn Hakken,34, are accused of executing an elaborate kidnapping plot involving their 2 and 4-year-old sons.  They took off out of John's Pass near Madeira Beach on April 3.  They were captured nearly a week later aboard their sailboat in Cuba.

At the time, the boys were in the custody of their maternal grandparents.

Cuban officials agreed to return the couple and their sons to the United States.  They arrived in the very early morning hours of April 10.  The couple was cuffed and shackled while escorted into custody by FBI agents.

Photographs taken aboard the plane were also released.  It show the severely sunburned couple.

Once in a holding cell, surveillance video picked up the couple talking about sailing to Cuba.  In the 45 minute video, the couple exchanged more than a dozen kisses and repeatedly vowed their love for one another.

It isn't clear if the couple knew they were on camera and their conversation was recorded.

"Did you talk to them [the police]?" Joshua asked his wife.

"No, I said to much on the plane," replied Sharyn.  "I am sorry."

In their last moments side-by-side, the couple revealed some of the details of how they executed their plot.

"I don't remember what our code words for something is wrong," Sharyn said.

Amid the information released Monday afternoon were dozens of photos of the Hakken's sailboat, showing how the couple and their sons lived while on their journey.

There is money laid out, games, toys,  Spanish-English dictionaries, dishes, food, a flair gun, shotgun, handgun and a lot of ammunition. 

There is also a picture showing two car seats--presumably where the boys sat while sailing.

"I think if we had to do it all over, we didn't start (inaudible), make a run for it," Joshua told his wife.

The couple also discussed what their strategy would be when locked up and awaiting trial.  They mention convicted killer Jody Arias and how she tripped up by providing her cell mates with details of her crime.

"Be careful what you say to your cell mates.  No one can know about this until it goes to trial," Joshua warned his wife.

Joshua also made sure to point out the difference between their predicament and what Arias did.

"That lady was a murderer.  We were trying to save our children," Joshua explained.

Before being separated, the couple vowed to wait for each other to be free.

"I wish I had as many charges as you.  I don't want to get out before you.  If I get out before you, I'll wait for you.  I promise," Sharyn told her husband.

"When everything goes down, I will come for you, OK?" Joshua said.

Joshua is charged with kidnapping, burglary, child neglect and battery.  Sharyn is facing all the same charges except for battery, a charge Joshua called 'overboard' in the video.


Within the 500 pages of discovery released in the case are letters.  Many are between Joshua and his parents.  In addition, both Joshua and Sharyn take time in their letters to ask about their boys.

In a letter to his parents, Joshua reassures them that neither he nor Sharyn are suicidal.

Not allowed to have direct communication, the couple would send letters to each other via their family members.

In at least one letter, pictures of the boys were sent.

In other letters, pictures of the Hakkens on their wedding day were included.


However, a lengthy letter sent by Sharyn to a 26-year-old woman suggests she is in love with the woman.  Sharyn even talks of marrying the woman.

"I hope you really do know by now, I am 100 % fully committed to you and our relationship!" wrote Sharyn.

Sharyn writes that she daydreams about their future together and talks of marriage.

In the letter, Sharyn also told the woman, who she refers to has her 'girlfriend,' that she told her attorneys about their relationship and that they said it would not impact her case.

"We don't have to be careful anymore!" Sharyn wrote.

Sharyn concludes her 18-page letter by calling the woman her 'soulmate'

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