TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - A man accused of kidnapping his two young sons in Florida and fleeing with them by boat is reported to have taken them to Cuba with his wife, investigators said on Tuesday.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said his office and the FBI had received information that Joshua and Sharyn Hakken and the two children were in Cuba, but he declined to provide further details.
El Nuevo Herald said the family was in the custody of Cuban immigration officials and were being tended to by U.S. consular officials.
Hakken is accused of breaking into his mother-in-law’s home north of Tampa on Wednesday, tying her up with zip ties and fleeing with his sons, 4-year-old Cole and 2-year-old Chase, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Hours later, Hakken, his wife Sharyn, and the children left from a dock in Madeira Beach, Florida, aboard a recently purchased 25-foot (7.6-meter) sailboat, investigators said.
Hakken had learned a few hours before he went to his mother-in-law’s home that he and his wife had lost custody of the children, the Tampa Bay Times said.
The boys wound up with their maternal grandmother after the Hakkens attended an “anti-government” rally in June in Louisiana, where police said they found Hakken in the family’s hotel room with a gun, marijuana and knife, talking about a “journey to Armageddon,” the newspaper said.
Hakken was charged with marijuana possession and the boys were placed in a foster home, where Hakken later showed up armed with a gun, the Times quoted authorities as saying.
Louisiana officials then sent the boys to live in Tampa with Sharyn Hakken’s mother, Patricia Hauser.
Warrants issued in Hillsborough County charged Joshua Hakken with kidnapping, interfering with child custody, child neglect, false imprisonment, burglary with battery and stealing Hauser’s car.
Editing by Jane Sutton and Jackie Frank