The kidnapped young boys who just returned from Cuba are doing well, their grandparents told reporters Thursday morning. Moments later, Chase and Cole Hakken smiled for cameras, happy to be home after their "vacation."
Patricia and Robert Hauser declined to discuss the criminal case against their daughter Sharyn Hakken and son-in-law Josh, who are accused of kidnapping the boys from the Hausers, stealing their car, and sailing for Cuba.
Instead, the Hausers took a moment to thank law enforcement, the media, and the public for their help during the Amber alert and search for the boys.
Patricia -- who was tied up during the kidnapping last week -- also made a point to thank the State Department and the government of Cuba, whose unexpectedly fast cooperation resulted in the Hakkens, the boys, and even the family dog being flown back to Tampa this week.
"They called us from Cuba and let us talk to the boys before the plane even left. And believe me, many tears were shed in that room," Patricia said, reading from a prepared statement. "We became elated and could not wait for that plane to land in Tampa."
The boys are in good shape, the Hausers said, except for a few bug bites. They haven't asked the kids much about the whole series of events because they don't want to make a big deal about it.
"We want them to get back to their normal, everyday schedules and just be carefree little boys again," Patricia explained. "We are just letting them tell us things as they come out if they feel like talking…we are treating it like a vacation."
The boys, ages 4 and 2, did not say much during their brief appearance, but their smiles spoke for them.
Their grandfather said it's been an adjustment having the kids around since a Louisiana court placed them in his custody, but he called it "amazing."
"I come home from work at the end of the bad day and the two of them come running up, hugging and kissing me. It's just wonderful. We wouldn't trade it for anything," Robert added.
The family dog, a 15-year-old rat terrier named Nati, did not endure the trip to Cuba as well. He's being treated for dehydration after the long trip, and could make it out for the cameras.
Joshua and Sharyn Hakken, meanwhile, are in a Hillsborough County jail without bond on a variety of charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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