Cuba returns American parents accused of fleeing with kidnapped children

Family|News|April 10th 2013

HavanaAn American couple accused of kidnapping their children and fleeing to Cuba have been returned to US custody today.

Cuban authorities this morning handed Joshua and Sharyn Hakken and their two sons to the US State Department and the FBI, after they were found in the Cuban capital Havana.

Mr and Mrs Hakken lost custody of their boys last year after police found the family in a Louisiana hotel room containing drugs and weapons. A court in the state terminated the couple’s parental rights over the two and four year-old in a hearing earlier this month. Since then, the boys’ maternal grandparents Bob and Patricia Hauser have had custody.

The Hakkens allegedly entered the Hausers’ Florida home last week, tied up Mrs Hauser and fled in her car. Various media report that Mr and Mrs Hakken then boarded a boat in nearby Madeira Beach and sailed to Havana.

Cuban officials discovered the family on Tuesday afternoon and announced they would hand them over to US authorities.

The children will be returned to Mr and Mrs Hauser after having medical examinations. Mr Hauser said “Our grandchildren are safe” and expressed gratitude to the Cuban government “…for being so co-operative and returning the kids.”

Cuba does not have an extradition treaty with the United States but the Cuban Foreign Ministry said it remained in communication with the US throughout the incident, ABC News reports.

Mr and Mrs Hakken are now being held in a Florida jail, facing charges including kidnapping, child neglect and auto theft.

The family dog was also recovered from the Hakkens, which will be returned to the boys when they rejoin their grandparents.


Photo of Havana by Gabriel Rodríguez via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

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