Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Gruesome Yacht Murder Case of Thomas and Jackie Hawks

Well Deserved

Thomas and Jackie Hawks
Thomas and Jackie Hawks

Monday, Nov. 15, 2004, was the perfect day for a cruise. Clear and bright, the temperature was in the mid-70s with winds less than 10 mph. A typical California day.

It was at times such as this that Thomas and Jackie Hawks probably felt twinges of regret for deciding to sell their beloved 55-foot yacht, the Well Deserved. The vessel had been their home for the previous three years as they had cruised the western coast of Mexico, living a life of which most people can only dream. The retired couple had advertised their yacht for sale in a boating magazine, wanting to find owners who would take good care of it.

Skylar and Jennifer Deleon
Skylar and Jennifer Deleon

Skylar and Jennifer Deleon seemed to fit that bill. Young, charming, good looking, with one daughter and another on the way, the Deleons appeared to be the perfect buyers. Skylar identified himself as a former actor and entrepreneur, Jennifer a hairdresser. On a prior visit to see the yacht, Jackie had been won over by the couple's infant daughter and couldn't help talking about how excited she was to see her stepson's new baby.

The deal appeared to be settled; all that remained was a test cruise. Skylar arrived around 3:30 p.m. with two men he introduced as his accountant and a friend, John F. Kennedy and Alonso Machain, respectively. The Well Deserved was docked at Newport Harbor, and the group would sail off the coast of Orange County. Jackie made a cell phone call to a friend at 4:06 p.m. saying "We're out at sea." It was the last anyone would hear from them.

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