Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Gruesome Yacht Murder Case of Thomas and Jackie Hawks

Thomas and Jackie Hawks

The Hawks
The Hawks

Thomas Hawks was fearless, bold and gregarious, the type of guy who could take care of any situation.

A former competitive surfer, bodybuilder and arm wrestler, Thomas had also had careers as an Air Force Security Police officer and a firefighter. He grew up in California, married, had two children, Ryan and Matt, and then divorced. The newly single dad moved to Arizona, where he worked at a probation officer. It was there that he met Jackie, a supermarket checker, during a chili cook-off at the home of a mutual friend. She was in a wheelchair at the time because of a motorcycle accident, but it didn't stop the pair from being instantly attracted to each other.

The pair married in 1985. "Dad was always very popular, kind of the center of attention, and always exuded confidence," Ryan said. "Jackie really liked that about him. They were both really hardworking and earned everything they owned."

Ryan Hawks
Ryan Hawks

And they were pretty strict parents. Ryan remembers how he used to play with his friends after school until his father got home from work. When Jackie entered the picture, all that stopped as Ryan was required to do his homework first. Matt had a rebellious streak and was "grounded more than anyone I know," Ryan said. "One time he came home with purple hair and my dad told him to shave it off. He was bald for a month."

The family loved the water and always owned a boat. Holidays and every other weekend were spent boating or camping. The Hawkses loved to entertain and frequently invited friends on their trips. When Thomas retired, they bought the Well Deserved, sold their house in Arizona and began their big adventure. It was October 2002.

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