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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Then, last year, police in Louisiana came upon a disturbing scene in a hotel room: The Hakkens were inside with drugs and weapons, talking about "completing their ultimate journey" and saying they were traveling across the country to "take a journey to the Armageddon," Daniel Seuzeneau, a spokesman for Slidell Police, said in a news release. Their two children were in the room at the time.

After that arrest, the Hakkens lost custody of the boys, who were initially sent to a foster home. Authorities say Joshua Hakken tried and failed to kidnap them at gunpoint from the home.

Last week, the boys' maternal grandparents were granted custody. That's when police say Joshua Hakken broke into the home, tied up his mother-in-law, took the children and eventually set sail for Cuba. Federal, state and local authorities searched by air and sea for the sailboat Joshua Hakken had recently purchased. They were found in Cuba, thanks to a crucial tip from the person who sold the boat to Hakken.

The couple may have believed they could find refuge there, but experts said Cuba had little to gain politically by holding them. The communist island shares no extradition agreement with the U.S., and relations between the two have been icy for decades. But Cuban officials said Tuesday they would hand over the family.

The blinds at the Hakken household were drawn tight Wednesday. An "infowars.com" bumper sticker was pasted on their mailbox, a reference to conservative radio personality Alex Jones' website.

A white SUV was in the driveway where neighbors said they usually saw a small boat parked. The boat was such a common presence that it was noticeable when it disappeared last week, said neighbor Simon Castillo.

"I'm just surprised the little thing made it all the way to Cuba," Castillo said.

Other neighbors said they rarely saw the Hakkens in the neighborhood, which some described as not being particularly social.

Lindsay Fleming, who lives two doors down from the Hakkens, recalled last speaking to the Hakkens about a year ago outside their homes during an annual air show put on by nearby MacDill Air Force Base.

Fleming said Sharyn Hakken offered him marijuana in front of her kids.

"They were smoking pot and they offered me some, at least his wife did," Fleming said. "(Joshua) was like, 'Don't do that!'"

Nancy Weining, who said she is an acquaintance of the children's grandparents, called them a "wonderful family." She said the Hausers had lost touch with their daughter and son-in-law after the Hakkens lost custody of their boys.

"I knew they had left them with them and nobody knew where they were," Weining said. "Everybody was looking for them, trying to figure out where they were."

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Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy contributed to this report from Miami.