|Boys Kidnapped to Cuba Mug for Press|
|By ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@AlyssaNewcomb) and ANTHONY CASTELLANO (@AntCastellano)||Apr 11, 2013, 3:44 AM|
The two children allegedly kidnapped by their parents and taken to Cuba earlier this week emerged from their grandparents' home in Florida this morning smiling and striking silly poses for reporters, who they thought were there to learn about their Cuba "vacation."
Cole and Chase Hakken, ages 4 and 2, respectively, were told by their maternal grandparents that photographers wanted to take their pictures after hearing about their "sailboat trip to another country and airplane trip back to America."
The children answered no questions about their ordeal or their parents, who lost custody of the children last year and attempted to take them back illegally via the trip to Cuba, authorities say.
Instead, the boys smiled, showed off a toy truck, said the cameras were "cool," and struck silly poses.
Meanwhile, their parents, Joshua Hakken, 35, and Sharyn Hakken, 34, were formally charged in court this morning with kidnapping, interference with child custody, and neglect.
Joshua Hakken was also charged with grand theft auto, false imprisonment, battery and burglary.
The boys had been in the custody of grandparents Bob and Patricia Hauser when they were allegedly kidnapped by their parents April 3. They were then returned to the Hausers' home Wednesday, after Cuban and U.S. officials brought the Hakken family home from Cuba and took Joshua and Sharyn into custody.
Patricia Hauser said the hours before the boys boarded their flight back to the United States were tense.
"They called us from Cuba and let us talk to the boys before the plane even left. Believe me, many tears were shed in that room, from us and this group you see here," she said, gesturing toward the Hillsborough County Sheriff's officers standing behind her.
"Then we became elated and could not wait for the plane to land in Tampa," she said.
The grandparents had not asked their grandsons any details about the kidnapping, which they said the boys didn't really understand to be a crime.
"They have been told everyone heard about their sailboat trip to another country and airplane ride back to America, and everyone wants to take their picture," Hauser told reporters.
"We have not asked the boys anything about their journey. We are just letting them tell us things as they come out, and treating it as they went on a vacation."
Bob Hauser called the ordeal a "nightmare," but said he is thrilled to have his grandsons home once again.
"You never expect something like this to happen to you, but I'll tell you, going through it, you just take one step at a time," he said. "And the focus had been on getting those boys home, and now the focus is that they can lead a normal life.
"Having the boys here is amazing."
The grandparents said they were deeply grateful to local and federal authorities, the media and the public for helping to bring the boys home.
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Sharyn Hakken's former boss Darrell Hanecki, who spoke to ABC News overnight, said she was a good mother who quit her job to spend more time with her sons.
"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.