BOYNTON BEACH (CBSMiami) — The disappearance of two Tequesta teenagers at sea nearly two years ago has taken a turn as the family of one of the boys filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
The massive search for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14, lasted for weeks. Neighbors and friends pulled together in support of both families.
Austin’s mother, Carly Black, was optimistic.
“I will never give up,” she said in July 2015. “Just like Austin would never give up.”
But since that time, Black’s judgment has been called into question.
“Austin’s boat was not properly equipped to go into the ocean,” said Guy Rubin, the Cohen family attorney. “How can a family, who owns a sport fishing business and several ocean-going boats, fail to equip their child’s boat with essential safety devices?”
Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother, claims other missteps. Austin’s father went out to look for the boys before notifying authorities. The Stephanos family knew she had forbidden her son to go offshore without her permission.
And even more troubling, the tragedy was foreshadowed a day earlier.
“The day before they went missing, Austin’s parents allowed him to take Perry fishing offshore, in which the boys narrowly escaped getting caught in an afternoon summer storm. Austin’s parents knew this happened but never told Pamela.”
The wrecked fishing boat Austin and Perry were in was eventually found off central Florida. So was Austin’s iPhone.
Cohen says what happened to the boys wasn’t bad luck or bad weather, but an avoidable tragedy.
Austin Stephanos’ family had no comment on the Cohen’s lawsuit.