#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean
True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, Season 1, Episode 9 – Skylar Deleon
Newport Beach, California, November, 2004
Tom and Jackie Hawks, a loving retired couple, decided to sell their yacht, the Well-Deserved, so they could move to Arizona and be near their grandchild. They lived on the yacht and loved boating, but being near their grandchild was more important.
One day in November, 2004, their sons realize they have not heard from Tom or Jackie in several days and begin trying to reach them, to no avail. They learn the boat is not in its usual spot. They contact police who begin investigating. A woman contacts authorities to say that she and her husband bought the boat 10 days earlier but haven’t seen the Hawkses since then. She said, “If you hear from them, please have Tom call. My husband needs to talk to him about changing the fuel tanks.”
Days pass and still no word from the Hawkses. On November 26, 2004, police receive word that an attempt was made in New Mexico to access the Hawkses’ bank account. Skylar Deleon is arrested. He claims he bought the boat and provides a bill of sale. He says he planned to use it to launder money. Police are suspicious he was involved in the murders but do not have enough evidence. They arrest him on money laundering charges while trying to gather the evidence they need to charge him with the Hawkses’ murder.
While Skylar is in jail, police question Alonso Machain. He tells them that Skylar offered him a million dollars to help him steal a boat and told him that they might have to kill a few people, but they were bad people. Tom and Jackie agree to take Skylar for a ride on the boat. Skylar is joined by Alonso and another man named John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A few hours after they depart, when they are well out to sea, the three men attack Tom and Jackie and tie them up. They promise they will let them go if they sign over the deed for the boat. They are bound, with duct tape over their eyes. Instead of setting them free, the men tied the couple together, handcuffed them to an anchor, and pushed them overboard. Their bodies were never recovered. Later, it was discovered that Jackie, most likely in an attempt to tip off someone who would review the documents once they were killed, purposely left the ‘s’ off of her last name. An ‘s’ was filled in, but it was obvious it was added later, and not part of her signature.
Police learned that the only reason the Hawkses trusted Skylar was because he brought his pregnant wife and child aboard the boat when they first met, presenting himself as a family man and gaining the trust of the couple. Skylar told Tom and Jackie he would pay cash for the boat. He said he was a child actor and had saved back a lot of cash. As it turns out, he did have a bit part in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers show, but he was hardly a child ‘star,’ and he was now flat broke.
Skylar’s wife, Jennifer, was involved as well. She was charged, along with the three men. Each of them received a life sentence without parole, with the exception of Machain, who received twenty years in a deal for cooperating with the authorities. I have to wonder, how the hell did they think they were going to get by with stealing the boat and claiming they’d paid for it??? Geez.
Such a disturbing story. The Hawkses were great people who loved their family and tried to live a good life. The thought of how they died, the cruel heartlessness of their killers is beyond comprehension. As the reenactment was shown, along with images of the deep, dark water, and the details were revealed about the victims’ last moments, I found myself having difficulty breathing. Can you imagine? Going into the ocean like that, alive, helpless and taped and tied up, your spouse and soul mate right there with you, yet you are both helpless to save one another, let alone avoid the inevitability of your own death?
The couple’s sons, who were actually Tom’s from a previous marriage, adored their dad and stepmother. Here is a pic of Ryan, the younger son. Is he gorgeous, or what? The entire family was beautiful.