The Amber Alert mystery that has captured the attention of much of the Tampa Bay area the last few days all started with a 9-1-1 call Wednesday morning.
Patricia Hauser is heard on tape saying:
"My son –in-law just kidnapped my two grandchildren. He tied me up, I was able to move myself to a pair of scissors but they've been gone about a half an hour."
Hauser's call came after Joshua Hakken fled her Tampa home with two-year-old Chase and four-year-old Cole. Hakken and his wife Sharyn had just lost custody of their boys.
That was culmination of a chain of events stemming from Josh Hakken's arrest in Slidell, Louisiana on drug charges. According to an incident report filed by the Slidell Police Department the Hakkens were acting strangely in hotel. They were also found to be in possession of some guns.
Following the arrest the boys went into foster care and eventually wound up with their maternal grandmothers home in Tampa.
It is believed Joshua Hakken stole his mother-in-law's car after he tied her up and took his sons. He met up with Sharyn and switched vehicles.
"We believe that they are presently in a black GMC pickup," said Corporal Kevin Bodie of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday.
So the search was on for that truck, the Hakkens and presumably the two little boys. Late Thursday authorities found it abandoned in a parking garage in John's Pass on Madeira Beach.
Friday morning brought another twist to this bizarre case.
"We learned after recovering the vehicle last night over in John's Pass Marina that several hours after the abduction on Wednesday we believe that they boarded [a] 25-foot sailboat," explained Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Larry McKinnon during a Friday afternoon media briefing.
At that time investigators released several surveillance pictures showing the couple preparing the vessel for voyage. Chase and Cole however, are not seen.
With Joshua and Sharyn Harken visible on the deck of the boat, it soon disappears from the surveillance camera's view.
McKinnon: "They were seen going underneath the John's Pass Bridge."
Law enforcement officers from a variety of agencies are scouring the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida coast.
"All our officers are in a constant search mode, trying to obtain the location of this vessel," said Officer Baryl Martin with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "The search, especially for a vessel, is extremely difficult just for the fact that Florida has some of the largest coastlines in the United States."
Those involved in the search are asking for the public to keep an eye out for the Hakkens on land and sea. Everyone is seeking a peaceful end to the story.
"We are very focused in this investigation and we're going to remain optimistic that we're going to find these kids safe and sound," added McKinnon.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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