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Sailor Arrested for Kidnapping Son

A father taking his son on a sailing trip to the South Pacific is a dream come true for many sailors, but when you don’t get permission from the boy’s other parent, it’s called kidnapping and will turn that dream voyage into a nightmare. That’s exactly what authorities allege Jeffrey Hanson, 46, did when he sailed with his nine-year-old son Billy out of Seattle’s Shilshole Bay Marina in early September aboard his Cooper 37 Seabird Draco

Jeffrey Hanson is accused of kidnapping his son and taking him on a two-month transoceanic voyage to the South Pacific.

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The boy’s mother, Joanna Hanson, reported her son missing on September 10 when he didn’t return home to Pennsylvania after a summer spent with his father in Seattle. Two days later, an arrest warrant was issued for Hanson, and the FBI sent out international alerts trying to locate Draco. The divorced couple were said to be in the middle of a bitter custody battle when Hanson, who is reportedly a two-time circumnavigator, disappeared with their son. 

Draco — with both father and son aboard — was eventually located anchored off the tiny South Pacific atoll of Niue, and, on October 29, police arrested Hanson on charges of international parental kidnapping. He was flown to Los Angeles on November 3 to await extradition to Seattle to face charges in the case. It took a couple of additional days to coordinate Billy’s return to his mother, but they were finally reunited on November 5.

Watch this New Zealand TV station’s report on the arrest, which includes video of Jeffrey and Billy in Niue. 

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