HAVANA, CUBA (CBSMiami) – Cuba said late Tuesday afternoon it would send a Florida couple who allegedly kidnapped their own children back to the United States after the family fled to a Havana harbor.
The family was located by a CNN reporter Tuesday when he ran into the father, Josh Hakken, Tuesday on a boat named Salty at a Havana marina. Cuban security asked CNN to leave the scene when the family was first spotted.
Foreign Ministry official Johana Tablada told The Associated Press in a written statement Tuesday that Cuba had informed U.S. authorities of the country’s decision to turn over Joshua Michael Hakken, his wife Sharyn and their two young boys. She did not say when the handover would occur.
Authorities believe the father kidnapped 2-year-old Chase and 4-year-old Cole Hakken last week.
One of the few clues officials revealed about the investigation was that the father recently bought a 25-foot sailboat. That boat, named “Salty” was spotted at the Hemingway Marina in Havana.
The parents, who are from Louisiana, lost custody of their boys last year following a drug arrest. Their parental rights were terminated a week ago.
Some American leaders initially worried that recovering the children will be difficult.
“Unfortunately, these parents and these poor children, these innocent ones, will now be in a country where there are no laws, there is no redress, and that has been a refuge for fugitives and wanted criminals for many years,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R- Florida, told CNN.
There is no extradition treaty between Cuba and the United States, although there have been recent cases in which Americans sought for crimes in the United States and discovered in Havana have been sent back by the Cubans.