Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Gruesome Yacht Murder Case of Thomas and Jackie Hawks

A Desperate Search

Being a nomad may mean the absence of a fixed address, but it doesn't necessarily imply the absence of close ties. Thomas emailed and spoke to his two sons and brother frequently. The couple also had a large network of friends, so it didn't take too long for someone to become suspicious of the extended silence.

Son Ryan recalls talking to his dad on the Wednesday or Thursday before the fateful cruise, promising to meet for an upcoming farewell party for the Well Deserved. Ryan rushed to get his father off the phone because he was taking a weekend trip and had a lot of things to do.

The following week, Thomas' friend Donny was supposed to help him move personal items to Prescott, Ariz., where the Hawkses were retiring. When Thomas didn't follow through with their plans, Donny called Ryan. "I'm looking for your dad, and his cell phone is turned off. Do you have Jackie's number?" Donny asked. "It's unlike your dad to leave me hanging like this and stand me up." Jackie's phone turned out to be shut off as well.

Ryan checked with his uncle Jim, who hadn't heard from Thomas either. Irritated and thinking that his dad probably took a trip to Catalina Island or Santa Barbara without telling anyone, Ryan decided to wait a few days for his return.

As it turned out, the Well Deserved had already returned to port, and Thomas' beloved yacht would yield the first clue to his horrific fate.

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