As authorities searched for the fifth consecutive day Sunday for the two young boys who were kidnapped by their parents in a violent abduction, FOX 13 News got the closest look at at the dock from which the Hakken family set sail.
The private pier, located on 129th Avenue East in Madeira Beach, was the last place anyone saw Joshua and Sharyn Hakken and their children. The neighbor living next door to the slipway where the family's boat named "Salty" had been docked asked to remain anonymous, but said he witnessed the parents and their kids, Chase and Cole, board the vessel Wednesday morning. He said the boat's motor briefly stalled and the father restarted it, then the ship made its way to sea.
Investigators said this witness's account is why detectives believe the boys are on board despite neither being seen in pictures from surveillance video recorded that morning. According to officials, earlier that same day Joshua Hakken broke into the home of his mother-in-law, who has full custody of Chase, 2, and Cole, 4, tied her up and abducted his children.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office found the pickup truck the Hakkens were believed to be driving Thursday, then determined Friday the family likely fled by boat after uncovering the security video from a home near John's Pass Marina. The family's vehicle was discovered abandoned in a nearby parking garage.
"I hope the is well. I hope they're safe," said Tom Humienny, a boater from Riverview. "I don't even want to imagine what happened. I just hope they're pulled in somewhere, but it's hard not to miss a boat, at least that size. That there's been no sightings is rather of some concern."
Boaters all weekend, from Pensacola to the Florida Keys, have been asked to keep an eye out for the vessel.
"They say the longer it takes the worse the situation can be so I just hope they find them today or the next couple days," said Earl Bonaparte, another Riverview boater. "They say the longer it takes the worse the situation can be so I just hope they find them today or the next couple days."
The Hakkens are believed to be sailing in a 25-foot 1972 Morgan Sailboat with a blue Bimini top and white main sail.
The hull is blue and the ship has the word "Salty" on the back. There's also a bright yellow horseshoe-shaped life preserver onboard.
Several neighbors on 129th Avenue East said they didn't see the family get away, but immediately recognized the boat.
"I've seen it out here, a few slips down," said Mike Hinman, whose apartment is adjacent to the slip where Hakkens departed. "I'm very concerned. With something like that it's really alarming."
"These people can be anywhere. [The father] can go in and out of any channel at any point in time," said Holly Wolf, another neighbor in Madeira Beach.
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