Mom of Teen Who Went Missing at Sea With Friend Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Other Family
She claims their negligence led to the boys' deaths in the suit.
The mother of a Florida teen who vanished at sea in 2015 along with his friend has filed a wrongful death suit against the other teen's family.
The lawsuit, which was filed Friday at the Palm Beach County Courthouse, came just days before the two-year anniversary of the boys’ disappearance.
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14, have not been seen since July 24, when they took a fishing trip off the coast of Florida on Austin's boat.
Two days later, the 19-foot vessel was found capsized during a widespread search for the teens. They are now presumed dead.
“This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice,” attorney Guy Rubin said in a statement on behalf of Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother. “Perry’s family cannot just move on, put this behind them or let it go.”
Cohen alleges in the lawsuit that Austin’s family was negligent and that it resulted in the boys’ deaths.
In June, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that Carly Black, Austin’s mother, showed an “egregious lack of judgement and failure to execute due care” when she allowed the teens to go alone on a fishing trip in a “minimally equipped” 1978 boat.
The boat had a single motor, and no GPS or radio.
An investigative report released last month added that Black knew Perry’s parents forbade him to go offshore without an adult, and waited more than two hours to notify his parents that the boys were missing while Blu Stephanos, Austin’s dad, went searching for the teens on his own boat, according to People.com.
The state chose not to file charges, however, due to insufficient proof.
"Once it was clear the boys were not going to be found, there began some tension between the families," Rubin told BuzzFeed News.
This isn't the first battle between the families. In 2016, Cohen also filed a lawsuit over an iPhone 6 that was found on the boat, which was heavily damaged by saltwater.
The phone belonged to Austin, but Cohen wanted the phone turned over to investigators to determine possible foul play.
Because the case was not criminal, however, the phone was considered private property.
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