Mom Thinks Missing Teens May Have Been Abducted


The mother of one of two Florida teens who went missing on a fishing trip in July 2015 has issued a request to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct a forensic investigation of the pair's boat because she fears that they may have been abducted.

Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, departed in July from Jupiter, Florida, in a boat to go on a fishing trip, according to NBC. Their disappearance initiated an eight-day search by the Coast Guard that did not result in the boys being found. Their boat was retrieved in March, and arrived back in Florida on May 16. Pamela Cohen, Perry's mother, has written to the state's Department of Law Enforcement requesting a full investigation of the boat to determine whether the teens were abducted.

After the search, an official report stated that the teens' boat had probably capsized during a storm, though the two are still classified as missing.

An iPhone 6 belonging to Austin was found on the boat, but Apple was not able to extract any data from the phone after it had been submerged in water for eight months. Two life jackets and a boat jacket were also found off the coast of Georgia, though investigators did not find a definite link to the missing boys.

A missing cooler and life jackets from the boat suggested that the teens may have attempted to make improvised devices to aid in staying afloat, and the fact that the engine cover was missing may have hinted that they tried to fix the boat's engine.

Nick Korniloff, Perry's stepfather, along with mother Pamela, believed from the beginning that the two boys may have been abducted, according to the Daily Mail. The couple has been asking authorities to perform a full forensic investigation for several months. They want the craft to be treated as if investigators were looking into an abduction or homicide.

Pamela also filed a lawsuit to prevent authorities from giving the iPhone back to Austin's parents after the investigation had closed. After a court battle over the phone, as judge ruled that the phone should be sent to Apple in an attempt to recover any data.

The two families created a GoFundMe page, raising almost $500,000 to conduct a private search for the missing boys, but the search was later canceled when it failed to turn up new evidence.

Sources: NBC, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Martin Brigden/Flickr

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