The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that it received preliminary information late Monday afternoon that the Hakken family, sought in recent Amber Alerts, fled to Cuba.
The sheriff’s office said that it and the FBI are in contact with the U.S. State Department as they investigate the information they received.
An Amber Alert was re-issued for Cole Hakken, 4, and Chase Hakken, 2, on Friday, as authorities said that they may be on a sailboat with their parents Joshua Hakken, 35, and Sharyn Hakken, 34, who do not have legal custody of them.
Joshua Hakken broke into the boys’ maternal grandmother’s home in Tampa last Wednesday, tied her up and took his children from the home, according to the sheriff’s office.
A State Department official told NBC 6 that the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba is aware of the case and in contact with local authorities to obtain more information.
"U.S. officials are providing all appropriate assistance to the family," the official said in an email, adding that the department cannot provide additional information for privacy reasons.
The welfare of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the State Department's highest priorities, the official said.
"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," the official said.
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