Amber Alert UPDATE: Hillsborough deputies say Joshua Hakken -- who abducted his two non-custodial children in Tampa -- was last seen taking his family into the Gulf of Mexico aboard this sailboat.
TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) -- There was still no sign of the two parents who kidnapped
their children in Tampa earlier this week, after a court in Louisiana
took away their parental rights.
There were, however, two major developments in the case in the past
24 hours. The black GMC pickup truck belong to Joshua and Sharyn Hakken
was found Thursday night in Madeira Beach.
That tip set off a chain of events.
Detectives, who now had an area to ask people questions, found a
witnesses who had spotted the couple on a boat heading out of John's
Pass on Wednesday morning.
Joshua Hakken's truck was located in the John's Pass parking garage,
where it had been backed-in to the parking space, to conceal the license
"This lead that we got last night is of course the most pressing lead
that we've gotten so far," said Det. Larry McKinnon with the
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
While detectives were still scouring the vehicle, a witness near the
marina provided information that just two hours after the kidnapping,
the Hakkens were seen in a sailboat under the John's Pass bridge.
Surveillance photos show the couple preparing the 1972 25' Morgan
named "Salty." Another image shows them heading out toward the Gulf of
The boat, they say, was not stolen. It had been sold to them a few weeks ago.
The purchase of the vessel, again, appears to be part of a seemingly
elaborate plan broken down into what Joshua Hakken himself referred to
"We do know he has some sailing training and some sailing experience, so he is capable of operating that boat," said McKinnon.
Investigators now have the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Sheriff's Marine units up and down
Florida's west coast searching inlets, marinas and the wide open
They've also not ruled out the possibility that the Hakkens could
have used the boat just long enough to get back to another place on
land where they could then grab yet another vehicle.
"We're not eliminating any land searches at this point. We're looking
for them both on land," said McKinnon, "But right now we're going to
focus more of that search on the waterways on the west coast of
At this point, the Hakkens would appear to have a 48-hour lead on investigators, but detectives have not lost their trail yet.
They repeated several time on Friday, that they hope this can be resolved peacefully.