WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP/WPTV) — The father of a teenager who disappeared with his friend while boating in the Atlantic Ocean says he should not be held negligent for their presumed deaths.
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos were both 14 when they disappeared during a fishing trip in 2015. There was a massive search for them but they were never found.
Perry's mother sued Austin's family on Friday. Pamela Cohen alleges that Austin's mother, his father, William Blu Stephanos, and grandfather should have equipped the boat with a radio and other safety equipment and also not let them go out in the first place.
Stephanos' attorney Michael Pike told the Palm Beach Post his client didn't know the boys' plans and his son was in his mother's custody. The two have been divorced for years.
Austin's mother, Carly Black, released the following statement on Sunday:
July 24th marks the two year anniversary of the tragic disappearance of Austin and Perry. The last two years have been a period of grieving and sadness for Carly and her family, as well as the family of Perry. Both families are broken hearted by this loss. Carly is further saddened, (but not completely surprised, given the litigation previously initiated by the Cohen family), that they have now filed a lawsuit for money damages against Carly and her entire family, including her husband, Bubba, who was out of the country on the day the boys disappeared. Now, everyone will be forced to relive this horrible nightmare on a daily basis in order to defend this lawsuit and to prepare for trial.
The Cohen family alleges that Carly, and her family members, caused the death of Perry as well as at the death of Carly's own child, Austin. The evidence will contradict these allegations made by the Cohens' attorney at his Friday press conference on the courthouse steps, as well as the claims made in this lawsuit. This loss was a tragedy for both families, and this course of protracted litigation chosen by the Cohen family will not bring the boys back. In spite of recent events, Carly and her family continue to honor the lives and special friendship between Perry and Austin and the extraordinary efforts of an entire community two years ago. As result of the filing of the lawsuit, Carly and her attorneys will not be able to make any further public statements at this time and would encourage the Cohens and their attorneys to do the same.
AP Modified 2017