Published April 05, 2013
Authorities investigating the case of a father accused of kidnapping his two sons from their grandparents' home in Florida have a new clue: a sailboat.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's detectives said in a news release Friday that Joshua Michael Hakken recently bought a 25-foot, 1972 Morgan sailboat with a blue hull.
Authorities didn't say when Hakken bought the boat but released photos of it on Friday. It's described as having a blue Bimini top, white mainsail, and a blue hull with the word "Salty" and a paw print in white on both sides, with a white stripe near the water line. There is possibly a yellow horseshoe life preserver on deck.
Joshua Hakken's wife Sharyn Hakken is also considered a suspect in the kidnapping.
The boat's whereabouts are unknown. Had the family tried to sail in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, they could have encountered storms along Florida's West Coast. Other storm bands moved through the Gulf on Friday.
The 2006 GMC pickup truck owned by Hakken was found abandoned in a parking garage in the Tampa Bay area Thursday.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says detectives are processing the vehicle, found in Madeira Beach.
Authorities have previously characterized the couple as as "anti-government."
Investigators are considering the couple armed and dangerous, MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.
Authorities in several states are searching for the boys, as tips continue to pour in. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said they had a report the truck was seen in the southeastern area of the state.
Joshua Hakken lost custody of his children last year after a drug possession arrest in Louisiana. The children’s grandmother, Patricia Houser was awarded permanent custody by Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services, MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.
Investigators say Joshua Hakken kidnapped Cole and Chase around 6 a.m. after tying up their Houser in her house. Joshua’s wife, Sharyn was also involved in the kidnapping.
“My son-in-law just kidnapped my two grandchildren,” Houser tells dispatchers in a portion of the 911 call released by authorities.
Houser then tells the dispatcher the children are in “state custody” and that her son-in-law is “not supposed to be near them,” MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.
Houser told the dispatcher she was able to free herself with a pair of scissors after Joshua Hakken tied her up, but that the group had already been gone about a half-hour. Police say Hakken was not armed when he took the children.
"It's the manner in which the kids were taken that concerns law enforcement," FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier said Thursday.
Detectives and the FBI are working to determine the family’s connection to Louisiana. Joshua Hakken was once arrested in the state on multiple drug charges, MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.
Chase is 3 feet tall and 33 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Cole is 3-foot-9 and 44 bounds. He also has brown hair and brown eyes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.