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Tom and Jackie Hawks

Tom and Jackie Hawks: Disappearance at Sea

In 2004, Tom and Jackie Hawks, a retired couple living in Newport Beach, California, planned to sell their yacht. The yacht, named the Well Deserved, was purchased when the couple retired. However, after owning it and living in it for a few years, they heard that they had a grandchild on the way. So, the couple began trying to sell the boat. One Skylar Deleon, a former child actor, expressed interest.

So, Deleon went with the Hawks out on their boat into the open Pacific Sea. Afterwards, Deleon claimed, he bought the vessel from them, and the Hawks told him they were making for Mexico. After family didn’t hear from them for days, they began to suspect foul play. What they would discover would shake the town of Newport Beach to its core.

Police Investigate

At first, police suspected Deleon of foul play. They paid the Well Deserved a visit to see its new owners, Deleon and his wife, had made themselves at home. Bizarrely, Skylar and Jackie Deleon had official paperwork documenting the sale of the boat, and it was officially notarized. The notary corroborated their story, that the Hawks had sold them the boat and then gotten in their car and left.

However, this veneer of legitimacy quickly wore off. A search of the boat determined that the couple had purchased bleach, trash bags,* and medication to settle their stomachs hours before meeting with the Hawks. Deleon, who was deeply in debt at the time of the supposed sale, claimed he got the money with the money he stole from a recent armed robbery.

This, of course, did little to assuage the fears of authorities.

A Break in the Case

Police discovered that the Hawks, for some reason, gave the Deleon’s power of attorney over their bank accounts. Skylar said that Tom and Jackie gave them this power to get them their money while they were trying to buy a house in Mexico. However, the witness on the document giving them this power of attorney, one Alonzo Machain, proved to be a breakthrough in the case.

Police interviewed Machain, who, initially, corroborated Skylar’s story. However, police turned to the public, asking if anyone had seen Jackie and Tom’s car. It turns out, someone had. It was found in Mexico, in front of an inhabited house. Police interviewed the owner, who said one Skylar Deleon gave him the vehicle. With some concrete evidence, finally, police began to crack the case.

The Truth

Police returned to Skylar’s apartment and arrested both Deleons. Within, they found numerous belongings of the Hawks’. The police interviewed the notary again, and she confessed that Deleon paid her to sign off on the documents.

A second interview with Machain brought the full story. Deleon, Machain, and a friend named John Kennedy (no relation to the president) went out with the Hawks on the test sail.

When the boat was far enough out to sea, the three men overpowered the Hawks, bound them, and forced them to sign away the boat and all of their finances. Afterward, the men tied the Hawks to an anchor and threw them overboard. The two drowned shortly after. The grisly murders shocked Newport Beach, and all three men were found guilty of various crimes.

Skylar Deleon, who now identifies as a woman, says she committed the crimes to get enough money for gender reaffirming surgery. However, she remains in jail, where she will likely spend the rest of her natural life.

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Cameron Norris