Abducted children taken to Cuba returned to U.S.

Posted at 9:47 AM, Apr 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-10 09:47:23-04

HAVANA, CUBA (CNN) — An American couple who allegedly kidnapped their two sons and sailed to Havana last week sat in a Florida jail Wednesday after Cuba hastily handed them over to U.S. officials.

Cuban authorities turned over the family of four to the U.S. State Department and the FBI after CNN found them in Havana on Tuesday.

They arrived in Florida early Wednesday, where the two boys, ages 2 and 4, will get a medical exam, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.

He said they secured the family dog for the boys, who will be reunited with it later.

Authorities booked the parents, Josh and Sharyn Hakken, into the county jail. They face federal and multiple state charges, including kidnapping, auto theft and child neglect.

Chase, 2, and Cole, 4, will live in Florida with their maternal grandparents, Bob and Patricia Hauser. They have had legal custody of the boys since a court in Louisiana terminated the couple’s parental rights this month, Gee said.

“Our grandchildren are safe,” said Bob Hauser, who spoke with them before they departed Cuba. He thanked the Cuban government “for being so cooperative and returning the kids.”

The United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, praised Cuban officials for their handling of the case.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the Cuban authorities for their extensive cooperation to resolve this dangerous situation quickly,” spokeswoman Lynn W. Roche said in a statement.