According to multiple reports: Perry Cohen’s mother, Pamela, filed a lawsuit to keep the phone with a third party rather than have it returned to Austin Stephanos’ father, Blu. The phone was discovered in a boat near Bermuda.
Recently, the boat that carried two Florida teenagers, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, who were lost at sea in the summer of 2015, was located about 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda.
“This is an open missing persons case, and we hope that FWC reopens their investigation,” Pamela Cohen wrote on Facebook. She mentions that an iPhone was recovered from the boat with hopes that agencies will be able to “extrapolate data” that would help piece together the puzzle of what happened.
But Cohen’s stepfather, Nick Korniloff, told the Sun-Sentinel that the decision “is not good enough for us.”
“In light of new physical evidence – the boat and phone – it would be unconscionable that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would not reopen the case, and hand back the most critical form of evidence prior to it being examined by the most sophisticated agencies the government has,” said Korniloff.
According to People.com: Blu Stephanos, Austin’s father, provided the following statement Saturday: “At this point, our family is hoping and praying that Austin’s iPhone, now in the care Florida Fish & Wildlife, can be restored to working order so that we can try to recover from it any precious memories that it might contain.”
But Cohen’s mother Pamela issued a statement that suggested the data recovery process might be better left to law enforcement agencies: “We urge Austin’s family to do the right thing and to allow law enforcement to retain the iPhone until arrangements can be made to retain the top forensic teams available to begin to look for the answers we so desperately need.”
“We have no choice but to reach out to State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s office who can simply issue a warrant which would allow FWC to turn over the phone to proper investigating authorities so the phone can be evaluated by experts,” Pamela wrote in a post on Facebook.
The boys’ bodies have not been found, and their families are aiming to advance legislation to increasing awareness of boating safety.
The Beacon Bill that the Stephanos family initiated via their AustinBlu Foundation was approved by Governor Rick Scott on March 25 and goes into effect July 1. The bill is aimed at encouraging boaters to buy an emergency position indicator radio beacon (EPIRB) or personal locator beacon for their watercraft.