Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the University of Miamis Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, had predicted that Havana would indeed return the Hakkens to show that when it involves children, politics should not interfere. Remember Elián?
Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Cuban intelligence analyst now at the University of Denver also predicted earlier in the day that Cuba would send the whole family back to the United States as a goodwill gesture to U.S. authorities.
Havana also was likely to have been put off by the Hakkens record, including their bizarre behavior during an incident last year in the Louisiana town of Slidell, when police found drugs and guns in the hotel room they were sharing with their kids. The Hakkens are both engineers and owned a business in Tampa.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Hakken were acting in a bizarre manner that alarmed officers. They were talking about completing their ultimate journey and were traveling across the country to take a journey to the Armageddon, said a Slidell police department statement made public last week. Armageddon is the place where the Bible says the final battle between good and evil will be fought, and is usually associated with end-of-the-world prophesies.
Joshua Hakken was arrested on a drug charge and his sons were taken to a foster home, the police statement added. Two weeks later, the foster home called 911 to report that the father was trying to take his kids away at gunpoint, but Hakken ran away before police arrived.
The boys were later turned over to Sharyn Hakkens mother in north Tampa, Patricia Hauser. Josh Hakken then broke into her house, tied her up and made off with the kids. Prosecutors had filed charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and interference with child custody, among others, against the husband.
Information from the Tampa Bay Times and The Associated Press was also used in this report.