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Hakken family on their way back to U.S. from Cuba

11:35 PM, Apr 9, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- Cuba has agreed to return the Hakken family to the United States. 10 News has learned all four family members will be coming back to Tampa.

In a late night press conference, the grandfather of Cole and Chase Hakken said the children are safe and on their way home. He also thanked authorities and the press for getting the word out after 35-year-old Joshua Hakken allegedly kidnapped his sons and sailed the family from John's Pass to Cuba.

Images were released Tuesday night of the Hakken family walking around Havana's Hemingway Marina docks. There were also images of what appears to be Sharyn Hakken and one of the couples' two young sons playing at the rear of a blue sailboat.

In a surprise move, the Cuban government decided to turn the family over, even though the U.S. and Cuba share no extradition agreement. The U.S. says it's received exceptional cooperation from Cuba. Cuba tipped off the State Department to the Hakkens' presence on Sunday, and from that moment the plan to return them was on.

Right now, it's not clear when the handover will happen. When the family arrives they'll be checked out at the hospital, the parents will be arrested, and the boys will be reunited with their maternal grandparents, who have permanent custody of them.

Joshua Hakken lost custody of his sons last year after a drug possession arrest in Louisiana, and later tried to take the children from a foster home at gunpoint.

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