No bond for US couple accused of kidnapping kids

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2013 at 8:55 am •  Published: April 11, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Florida parents charged with kidnapping their boys and fleeing to Cuba by sailboat after losing custody were ordered Thursday to remain in jail without bond and to have no contact with their two young sons.

Joshua and Sharyn Hakken made their first court appearance Thursday morning in Tampa. Judge Walter Heinrich ordered them to have no contact with any of the victims or witnesses in the case.

They'll face a judge during a pretrial detention hearing on Monday on charges of kidnapping, child neglect, false imprisonment, burglary and interference with custody. Judge Walter Heinrich told the couple that they could be ordered to remain in jail without bond until their cases are resolved, depending on the evidence presented at Monday's hearing.

Monday's hearing was requested by special prosecutor Jennifer Johnson, who declined to comment after the hearing on why she asked for it. The Hakkens are being represented by the public defender's office, which has also declined comment.

Four-year-old Cole and 2-year-old Chase are now with their maternal grandparents, Bob and Patricia Hauser, who have legal custody. The children were taken from them last week. They planned to talk about the ordeal publicly later Thursday morning.

Joshua and Sharyn Hakken arrived in Florida early Wednesday with their sons and the family dog, accompanied by federal, state and local authorities after being handed over by Cuban officials. The children were "happy and sleepy" on a flight back to the U.S., sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said in an email Wednesday.

Friends of the couple say they seemed to have a charmed life, doting on their two young boys, buying a comfortable home and building successful careers as engineers.

"This is a train that went completely off the tracks, and I don't have any explanation for how it can go off the track that badly basically in a year and a half. It's very bizarre," said Darrell Hanecki, who employed Sharyn Hakken for nearly a decade at Hanecki Consulting Engineers.

Hanecki said Wednesday that she was an easygoing and relaxed employee who worked from the home they owned in sunny Tampa so she could spend more time with the kids. She brought the boys into the office a few times to show them off to her colleagues.

"The kids were really well-behaved. From everything I could tell, she was a great mom. Her kids were definitely her priority," Hanecki said.

He said Sharyn Hakken was pragmatic and responsible, graduating from the University of South Florida in 2008. She occasionally gave advice to Hanecki's daughter, an aspiring engineer, and encouraged her to stay in school and finish her degree.

She resigned in 2011, saying it was too difficult to juggle work with caring for an infant and toddler.

Sharyn Hakken's husband, Joshua, also seemed to show few signs of trouble. He attended the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1996 to 1998 but did not graduate, according to academy spokesman Sgt. Vann Miller, who declined to provide further details.

Joshua Hakken also worked as an engineer, employed at one point by Hahn Engineering, Inc. A woman who answered the company's phone Wednesday declined comment. Last year, the couple started their own company, listing Sharyn as president and Joshua as vice president, but it's unclear what type of business it was.