ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Late this afternoon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received information that the Hakken family arrived in Cuba.
A report sent just before 7 p.m. says the sheriff's office is currently working with the FBI, who is in contact with the U.S. State Department, to verify the information.
A State Department official released the following statement:
"The U.S. Interest Section is aware of this case and is in contact with local authorities to get more information. U.S. officials are providing all appropriate assistance to the family. Because of privacy reasons, we are unable to provide any additional information. One of the Department's highest priorities is the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas. This is particularly true for children, who are our most vulnerable citizens. The Department works with parents and foreign governments to resolve these difficult cases."
Tips have been pouring in from people who think they've spotted the small sailboat that Joshua and Sharyn Hakken, along with their young sons Chase and Cole, were last seen aboard Wednesday. There's been some question about just how far the family could have gotten.
Alook inside the type of watercraft Joshua Hakkken purchased showswhy choosing that boatmay have been no accident.
Jim DeSanto gave 10 News a tour of his Morgan 25. He says it has surprisingly ample room to accommodate four people. There's bed-space, eating areas, a galley with a stove, sitting areas, and storage for food and water in the small hull.
DeSanto says among people -- even with limited sailing experience -- the Morgan 25 has a solid reputation as an almost-perfect combination of livability and durability.
"This boat sails so well that one man can single-hand it in almost any conditions," said DeSanto.
Space and speed also make the Morgan more than capable of traveling long distances. And for that reason DeSanto believes Hakken chose this particular kind of boat.
"I don't think it's an accident. If he had this planned out, it wasn't an accident," he said.
The thing about the Morgan 25 is that it can operate almost anywhere.With its centerboard down, it draws only about three feet, enabling it to reach into back canals and possibly hide. With the centerboard down, it can handle seas of 10 to 12 feet.
"He can go wherever he wants to go, and hide out wherever he wants to hide out," said DeSanto.
"I don't know of a boat I'd rather be on to do a journey like that than a Morgan," said St. Pete Yacht broker Page Obenshain.
Obenshain should know.He actually helped design the Morgan 25 with its creator, Charlie Morgan, half a century ago, and sailed on the very first one ever produced.
The boat may be small, but with enough provisions it can travel the world, he said.
"They're overbuilt. Their built well. So the choice was excellent," said Obenshain.
On Monday, investigators still searching for the Hakkens and their two young sons released another, clearer picture of the Morgan 25 they were last seen on. It's blue with thename "Salty" and a paw print painted on the sides.
Detectives say Hakken bought the vessel a few weeks ago as part of what appears to be an elaborate getaway plan.
"The good news on that is that we now know people are out looking. We know that this is a priority, not only for us, but for the public," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Det. Larry McKinnon.
Jim DeSanto, who is also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, says he was out on the water Sunday with many others looking for the Hakken's boat.
Again, if you come across them, you're asked not to approach the family. Call 911.