"She was a very normal, very mild-mannered, kind of laid-back person dedicated to her kids and her family," Hanecki, who employed Hakken for nearly a decade at Hanecki Consulting Engineers in Odessa, Fla., said.
"It's just shocking."
Joshua Hakken attended the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1996 to 1998 but did not graduate, according to The Associated Press. Hakken worked as an engineer and at one point was employed by Hahn Engineering Inc. in Tampa, the AP reported.
The Hakken's ordeal that ended with diplomatic intervention from Cuba began in June when the couple lost custody of their sons. Slidell, La., police said they found the Hakkens in a hotel room with their sons surrounded by weapons, drugs and "acting in a bizarre manner."
After the children were placed into protective custody last year, authorities said Joshua Hakken showed up at the kids' foster home banging on the door with a gun, demanding his two sons. Authorities said he fled the scene when the foster parents called 911.
The children were living with their maternal grandparents in Tampa April 3, when authorities allege that Joshua Hakken barged into the home, tied up his mother-in-law, and fled with his sons in her car.
The Hakkens arrived in the Hemingway Marina in Havana April 7 aboard their sailboat, Salty Paw, under unfavorable sailing conditions, according to a statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
The next day, Cuban officials said they became aware the Hakkens were wanted in an abduction case and contacted U.S. officials in Havana.
The Hakken family was spotted by ABC News Tuesday getting off the boat in Havana and being escorted by government officials. Joshua Hakken and his sons were accompanied to a restaurant on the marina by dozens of Cuban government officials, while Sharyn Hakken was seen being driven away in a government vehicle, according to an ABC News producer in Havana.
FBI special agent David Couvertier said Wednesday the U.S. State Department received information the family was in Cuba.
A team of FBI agents departed the Tampa area at 10 p.m. Tuesday and met with authorities in Cuba before returning the United States with the family early Wednesday morning.
For Bob and Patricia Hauser, their attention is solely focused on caring for the grandchildren.
"Right now we're just looking forward to sitting and getting them in our arms and hugging them," Bob Hauser said shortly before reuniting with Cole and Chase Wednesday morning.
ABC News' Gio Benitez contributed to this report.