Four years later, after both had been through their court trials, Skylar Deleon gave a more accurate account of their life and "fun" was not how he described it. He told ABC News that he remembers his wife being unhappy about their home, which was really just a small garage in her parents' house. With a daughter and a baby on the way, the little room was hopelessly crowded and cramped. The bathroom and kitchen were inside the parents' quarters.
In 2003, Skylar and Jennifer Deleon were desperate to move, and when they saw an ad for a boat docked at Newport Beach that was big enough to live on, they wanted it and were willing to do anything to get it.
"It was more of like a financial thing and making [Jennifer] happy and just. ... I guess that's, that's really about it," Skylar Deleon told ABC News.
The Well-Deserved, however, had a hefty price tag of $435,000. Skylar Deleon had nowhere near that kind of money, but he asked to see the boat anyway.
He and his pregnant wife introduced themselves to the Hawks in person, with their 2-year-old daughter in tow. Even though the Hawks were perplexed as to how such a young man could afford to buy their yacht, Ryan Hawks believes the presence of Deleon's wife and toddler reassured Tom and Jackie Hawks.
"[Jennifer Deleon is] the one that did the convincing. You show a family to my family, they're gonna let down their guard," Ryan Hawks said.
Carter Ford, port captain of the Lido Isle Yacht Club, was a friend and confidante of the Hawks family. He remained skeptical about the Deleons.
"I asked him finally, 'Well, Tom, do you have a deposit?' And there was a hesitancy. And, 'Well, no, Carter. … Actually I don't,'" Ford said.
"I've bought and sold boats directly myself and you reach a point of having an understanding. … Next thing you want is have a good faith deposit that demonstrates that they're serious and they have the means to do that," Ford said. "So he had been totally, in my view, been taken in by these people -- Skylar, in particular, his wife and the whole baby presentation thing."
But the Hawks put aside any worries and headed out to sea with Skylar Deleon and two other men.
Ford never saw Tom or Jackie Hawks again.
Tricia Schutz, a close family friend who handled the Hawks' finances while they were away, soon became worried.
"Matt called me and said, 'I haven't been able to get in touch with my mom and dad.' … And not 10 minutes later Ryan called me: 'I'm looking for mom and dad,'" she said. "They always stayed in contact with family. … everybody was worried."
If Tom and Jackie Hawks had sold their boat, Schutz would have been the first to know: She would have seen the new money enter their bank accounts.
When Schutz discovered that no money had been deposited, "We all knew that something terrible was wrong."
Ford cruised throughout the harbor, looking for clues, and discovered a worrisome mystery. Not only was the boat tied carelessly to the dock, the green covers the Hawks normally used to protect their boat lay crumpled in a heap on the deck.
"The motor [of the dinghy] was in the water rather than being lifted out. And the tie-up was sloppy," Ford said. "Knowing Tom and Jackie and just how careful they were about things -- that immediately said to me someone else was using the boat."