Joshua Hakken: A profile of the father accused of kidnapping his sons, Chase and Cole
Matt Smith, CNN
6:28 AM, Apr 10, 2013
(CNN) -- Online acquaintances wished fair winds and following seas to Joshua Hakken as he fled to Cuba, a strange refuge for a professed fan of Ron Paul.
Hakken, his wife and their two sons, 2-year-old Chase and 4-year-old Cole, were at a marina on the communist-ruled island when CNN found them aboard their small sailboat Tuesday. Florida authorities believe Hakken sailed there after abducting the two boys from the Tampa home of their grandmother, who was granted custody after Hakken's 2012 arrest on drug charges in Louisiana.
"This all just seems like the government is yet again making real criminals out of non-violent peaceful freedom lovers," wrote one commenter on "Adam Vs. The Man," a libertarian web forum.
The family's Cuban sojourn may be short-lived, as the government there announced Tuesday that it would hand them over to U.S. authorities.
A man identifying himself as Hakken -- "a father, a registered professional mechanical engineer and a veteran of the USAF" -- joined the Adam Vs. The Man discussion board in February 2012 under the handle "Sailingbull."
"I am absolutely devoted to life, liberty, the rights of the individual and the Constitution of the United States of America," he wrote. "Mr. Ron Paul is the ONLY politician I have ever admired or supported. It is unimaginable what the forces at be are doing and want to do to him."
Paul, the former Texas congressman, ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and 2012 and once as the Libertarian Party nominee, in 1988. Hakken vounteered to help Paul supporters scout out campsites near last year's Republican convention in Tampa, posting photos of site possibilities on the message board.
CNN has not been able to independently confirm Hakken's identity on site, and Adam Vs. The Man founder Adam Kokesh did not respond to requests for comment. But in a post last week, after news that Hakken was wanted in connection with the abduction, he noted, "I feel like we're in a position to help here. Maybe to reach out to him. Certainly seems like a stupid way to go about this, regardless of what your moral assessment is."
Both Hakken and his wife, Sharyn, held professional engineering certificates -- hers in civil engineering, his in the mechanical and fire-protection specialties, according to state records.
After high school, he attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado from June 1996 to May 1998, academy spokesman Meade Warthen told CNN. Online, Hakken said he left because of a previously undiagnosed spinal condition; Warthen said the academy couldn't comment on the reason for his withdrawal.
The couple's legal woes began last June with what police called a "disturbance" at a hotel in Slidell, Louisiana, just east of New Orleans.
"When police arrived, both Mr. and Mrs. Hakken were acting in a bizarre manner that alarmed officers," a Slidell police statement recounts. "They were talking about 'completing their ultimate journey' and were traveling across the country to 'take a journey to the Armageddon.' Let it be noted that both of their children were present in the hotel room at the time."
Police said they found both drugs and weapons in the room and called in the state Office of Child Services, which "determined that the children were in danger" and took them into their custody. Hakken was charged with marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and the use of a controlled substance around minors; "Officers also took custody of several weapons for safe keeping."
The Office of Child Services told CNN it would not comment on the case.
The children were put into foster care with a family in Tangipahoa Parish, north of Lake Pontchartrain. Two weeks after the arrest, the foster mother called 911 and told dispatchers, "I need a cop now. I have a guy at my house with a gun."
"I have two foster children, and it's their dad ... I don't hear banging, but I'm not getting out 'til a cop car gets here," she said.
Hakken left without the boys, who later were sent to live with Patricia Hauser, Sharyn Hakken's mother, in Tampa. On April 2, a Louisiana court terminated the couple's parental rights, investigators say.
The following day, Hillsborough County authorities say Hakken entered Hauser's home, tied her up and took off in her Toyota Camry with the boys. Three and a half hours later, surveillance video captured their recently-purchased sailboat heading into the Gulf of Mexico.
CNN's Kim Segal and Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.