Tom and Jackie Hawks were brutally murdered, tossed overboard their own yacht, called the Well Deserved, into the Pacific Ocean. But were the bodies of the couple ever found?
Sadly, authorities were never able to locate their bodies. Although Skylar Deleon, Jennifer Henderson, John Kennedy and Alonso Machain were convicted in the murders of Thomas and Jackie Hawks, they are still listed as missing people by the California Office of the Attorney General because their bodies were never found. You can read more about their disturbing murder case here.
Anyone who believes they may have found the remains of Tom and Jackie Hawks is asked to call the Newport Beach Police Department at (949) 644-3717 and reference case number 04013050.
ABC 20/20 is revisiting the case on an encore episode airing Friday, July 23, 2021 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tom & Jackie Hawks Were Tied to an Anchor & Tossed Overboard in a Deep Part of the Pacific Ocean
Skylar Deleon met Tom and Jackie Hawks after telling them about plans to buy their boat. The couple wondered how such a young person could afford the $435,000 yacht, but Deleon put them at ease by introducing them to pregnant wife Jennifer Henderson and their 2-year-old daughter. They were on a test run of the boat, along with Alonso Machain and John Kennedy, when the couple was brutally murdered. All four were convicted in the case.
“Authorities believe the couple were killed as part of a scheme to steal their boat and other assets,” the Charley Project reported. “Court documents stated Thomas and Jackie were taken by surprise and overpowered on the Well Deserved, bound with duct tape, handcuffed to the boat’s anchor, and tossed into the ocean while still alive. Prosecutors stated that the alleged sale of the boat never took place and the documents associated with the purchase had been forged.”
Many of the details known about the murder came from Machain’s testimony at Deleon’s trial. He said he, Deleon and Kennedy overpowered the couple, tied them up and forced them to sign sales documents. The couple begged for their lives, ABC News reported in its coverage of the murder trial.
“At that point, Machain said, Deleon ‘just pushed them’ off the side of the boat. Tied to an anchor Tom and Jackie Hawks plunged to their death in the icy cold water, drowning at sea,” ABC News reported. “Skylar Deleon chose an area of the Pacific Ocean that is particularly deep and the bodies were never recovered. He then turned the boat around and headed back to port.”
Missing Persons Websites List Details About Tom & Jackie Hawks & List Numbers to Call if They Are Found
Although four people are behind bars in the murder of Tom and Jackie Hawks, and there is little doubt that they are dead, the couple remains listed as missing persons on the California Office of the Attorney General website and the Charley Project. Anyone who believes they may have found the remains of Tom and Jackie Hawks is asked to call the Newport Beach Police Department at (949) 644-3717 and reference case number 04013050. Jackie Hawks was 47 at the time of her disappearance, and Thomas Hawks was 57.
“Thomas was last seen on November 15, 2004 in Newport Beach, CA. Also missing is his wife Jackie Ellen Hawks, they were last seen driving their 1998 Silver Honda CRV with Arizona license plate 774CPE,” the California Office of the Attorney General listing for Tom Hawks says.
He was wearing a wedding band with a hawk head on it, the listing says. Jackie Hawks also went missing wearing her wedding ring. She had a tattoo of a hawk head on her shoulder.
The couple was married for 17 years, according to the Charley Project. They met in 1986 at a chili cookoff and were married in 1989, CBS News reported.
Ryan Hawks recalled in an interview with CBS News his father intended to live life to the fullest, and often reminded his boys that life is short. It was that outlook on life that prompted him to set sail on the yacht, a longtime dream for Tom Hawks.
“He said, ‘Life’s too short, and it’s my life, this is our time, and I feel if I hesitate, then it would just go by and I’ll miss it,'” Ryan Hawks said.
Investigators First Thought Thomas & Jackie Hawks Went on an Impromptu Trip
Although Tom and Jackie Hawks lived on their yacht, it was not typical for them to lose touch with their family. They would frequently make trips to the shore to visit their friends and family, and kept in close contact through cellphone calls and satellite email. They were reported missing several days after their family reported they had not heard from them, according to the Charley Project.
Investigators questioned Skylar Deleon, who reported buying the couple’s boat for $400,000 cash. Deleon provided many details to police, such as the way Tom Hawks reacted to being paid in cash. The story initially seemed to make sense, police told 20/20.
The family became increasingly worried. After the couple went missing November 15, 2004, all traces of them vanished.
“It was originally thought that Jackie and Thomas had simply gone off on an impromptu trip together, but their loved ones all said they would not have left without telling anyone. Their first grandchild was born shortly before they vanished and they frequently inquired about him. Their credit cards, email and bank accounts, and cellular phones have not been used since their disappearances,” the Charley Project reported.
The family was especially concerned because they dropped contact when their grandson was born. The Hawks frequently asked about him, and they were selling their boat and moving ashore to spend more time with him.
The case took a dark turn once the couple’s missing vehicle turned up in Mexico, and neighbors told police Skylar Deleon left it there. The vehicle was discovered December 16, 2004, about one month after the couple went missing.
“And at that moment…any possibility that the Hawks were still alive died right there, unfortunately,” retired Newport Beach Det. Sgt. Dave Byington told 20/20.