Pennsylvania boy, nine, feared kidnapped on sailboat

Pennsylvania boy, nine, feared kidnapped on sailboat

(Reuters) - An international search was underway on Friday for a Washington state father who vanished on a sailboat with his 9-year-old son, possibly to islands in the Puget Sound or South Pacific, or to Mexico, officials said.

A federal arrest warrant was issued for Jeffrey Ford Hanson, 46, after he was charged a week ago in U.S. District Court in Seattle with international parental kidnapping, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Hanson was thought to be traveling "somewhere on the Pacific Ocean" with his son, Billy, the FBI said. The 9-year-old never boarded a Sept. 4 flight to Pennsylvania, where he lives with his mother, according to a Washington state missing person's report.

"Hanson is believed to be extremely volatile, and authorities are gravely concerned about the child's safety," U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said in a statement.

The pair had been staying on Hanson's 1976 White Cooper sailboat, nicknamed "Draco" with a 6-inch red stripe along the side, in Seattle's Shilshole Bay Marina, the FBI said.

"They could be heading toward Mexico or islands in the South Pacific," FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement. "The ocean is vast and we are strongly in need of more tips."

Billy's mother, Joanna Hanson, told local broadcaster KIRO 7 that the boy's father had said they were sailing to Blake Island, a 475-acre (192-hectare) island in Puget Sound, which connects to the Pacific Ocean.