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Two boys return to grandparent’s custody after parental kidnapping

Two boys return to grandparent's custody after parental kidnapping

The two Hakken boys grabbed national attention this month after their parents, who had lost custody of the boys earlier in the month, allegedly kidnapped the boys and fled to Cuba in a small boat. It's a story many residents here in Illinois hope never happens to them.

The story began weeks ago when the boys' parents, the 35-year-old father and 34-year-old mother, lost the year-long child custody battle with the mother's parents. On April 3, the 35-year-old father allegedly took tied up the grandmother and fled with the boys in her car. He and his wife then got onto a small boat, and set sail for Cuba. The grandmother's frantic call to police quickly turned the search for the boys into an international manhunt.

Because there are no extradition laws with Cuba, many people feared that the Cuban government would not cooperate and hand over the parents for kidnapping the boys. But in what some are considering a strange act of diplomacy, Cuban officials responded immediately to the situation, and were even said to have escorted the parents off the boat when they arrived.

In the early morning hours this week, the parents return to the United States in FBI custody. In the same return flight were the two boys who were quickly returned to the grandparent's custody.

During their court hearing this month, the parents were charged with kidnapping, interference with child custody and neglect. Because of his actions on April 3, the father was also charged with grand theft auto, false imprisonment, battery and burglary.

The grandparents, who are glad to have the boys at home and safe, say that for the most part the boys are unaware of what happened to them and are settling back into a routine.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Hakken boys safe at home with grandparents-unfazed by parental kidnapping and trip to Cuba," Michael Walsh, April 11, 2013

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