Amber alert family may have fled on boat - KMSP-TV

Amber alert family may have fled on boat

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The couple wanted in the abduction of two young boys had recently purchased a sailboat, and the location of that boat is unknown, the sheriff's office said Friday.

It is the newest development in the search for Joshua and Sharyn Hakken, who deputies say have kidnapped their own children.

On Wednesday morning, deputies say an armed Joshua Hakken entered the home of the boys' grandmother, who had just been given custody. Hakken allegedly took Cole and Chase around 6 a.m. after tying her up.

Authorities are now on the lookout for a sailboat he recently purchased. Initially, they were looking for his GMC truck, but that was found at a Madeira Beach parking garage late Thursday night. Detectives towed and searched the truck Friday morning.

The boat is a 1972 Morgan 25-foot sailboat, with a blue bimini top and white mainsail. The boat deck and cabin are white and the hull is blue – with the word "Salty" written on it.

Deputies say the boat registration number is #FL3717BK, HUL #M252099. There may be a yellow horseshoe life preserver on deck.

"They boarded this 25-foot sailboat, they were seen going underneath the John's Pass bridge and of course, we all know that leads out into the Gulf Of Mexico," said Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, FDLE, FWC, and the U.S. Coast Guard are casting a wide dragnet.

Investigators say the Hakkens could have pulled into another port and jumped into another vehicle so their land search will continue as they scour the sea.

Investigators released several photos they said were taken from security cameras near John's Pass Marina.

Records say the boat's previous owner was Kevin Woods of New Port Richey. FOX 13's Anthony Miller spoke with Woods; he said he did not sell the boat to the Hakkens, he sold it to someone else.

Woods said he believed the boat is seaworthy for trips up and down the Gulf coast, but he did not think it was suitable for longer trips.

Captain Sam Maisano, with Go Fast Fishing Tours in Treasure Island, agreed.

"Probably wouldn't fare that well out in the Gulf of Mexico in the conditions we had on Thursday," Maisano said.

Maisano was up early Wednesday morning, working right across the water from where the Hakkens disappeared on their boat. He said this is a small fishing community on Treasure Island and somebody had to have seen the couple gearing up to leave.

"From here, he could have gone into Tampa Bay, could have gone into Sarasota, Venice, depends on if he was under sail, he could have gone into the Intercoastal Waterway, and ducked somewhere in there, he could even go down to South Florida," said Maisano. "You could probably get out in the Gulf on Wednesday, but take cover on Thursday most likely, somewhere, some port."

We showed him the photos from the security cameras and he said, given the rough weather we've had since Wednesday night, the couple is most-likely hiding somewhere along the Intercoastal Waterway, or in a small inlet.

"It's not impossible for this to be just another segment of transportation, where they could have easily gotten on the boat, then had enough time to get off the boat and get into another car, so we're not eliminating any land searches at this point," said McKinnon. "Making them aware that we're not looking for any type of hostile confrontation. We certainly want to open up any dialogue with them and try to get this resolved peacefully."

Hakken is considered armed and dangerous and believed to be prone to violence.

"We're wanting a safe and positive resolution for all of them, not just to recover the kids, but for all of them and for them to know that there is an alternative way of resolving this issue, other than resorting to violence," said McKinnon. "We considered him armed and dangerous from the beginning, nothing has changed to eliminate that fact."

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