TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — 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. The truck the family had been traveling in was found late Thursday, abandoned in a parking garage in Madeira Beach.
Hakken, 35, and the children's mother, 34-year-old Sharyn Patricia Hakken, are prime suspects in the boys' disappearance, officials said. Authorities have previously characterized both as "anti-government."
Authorities say Hakken entered his mother-in-law's house north of Tampa on Wednesday, tied her up and fled with 4-year-old Cole Hakken and 2-year-old Chase Hakken.
"It's the manner in which the kids were taken that concerns law enforcement," FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier said Thursday.
Authorities didn't say when Hakken bought the boat but released photos of it — and an undated photo of the couple on a dock — 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.
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 Hillsborough Sheriff's office has issued an arrest warrant for Joshua Hakken on charges of kidnapping and several other counts.
Joshua Hakken lost custody of his sons last year after a drug possession arrest in Louisiana, and he later tried to take them from a foster home at gunpoint, authorities have said. Officials also said that the children had been living with their maternal grandparents since last year, and that the Hakkens were informed Tuesday by a Louisiana court that they'd been stripped of their parental rights.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Col. Donna Lusczynski said that law enforcement in the Southeast and Southwest have put information about the kidnapping onto billboards.
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