Jupiter statue honors teens lost at sea 6 years ago

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 12:01 PM EDT
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Saturday will mark the sixth anniversary of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen's disappearance.

The boys, who were both 14 years old at the time in 2015, went on a fishing trip from the Jupiter Inlet but were never seen again.

The boys' missing boat and iPhone were recovered in 2016 off of Bermuda.

Work through the AustinBlu Foundation began in 2017 to create a statue in their memory. The Stephanos family installed it at the inlet to stand as a memorial for all of the lives lost at sea.

Their foundation continues to push for safer boating practices.

Both parents said there has to be something meaningful to come from this tragedy, so they want this statue to serve as a reminder.

The statue was unveiled and dedicated Thursday evening at Jupiter Beach Park.

A statue in honor of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen was unveiled at Jupiter Inlet on July 22,...
A statue in honor of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen was unveiled at Jupiter Inlet on July 22, 2021.

William Stephanos, Austin's father, said the Jupiter Inlet community helped his family through their darkest times.

"The community really lifted us up at a time of need," Stephanos said.

The coordinator of the event, Bryan Willoughby, said U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., and the AustinBlu Foundation are working on creating an "Austin Alert" for people missing or in distress at sea.

It would work much in the same fashion as an Amber Alert, which is in place for missing children.

"I do miss him every day, every moment of every day. I miss my son, and I always will," said Carly Black, Austin's mother. "We're honoring him by giving back by doing boating safety classes, by trying to get bills passed."

The new statue is located at the far northern tip of the park where boaters will see it as they pass through the inlet.

Scripps Only Content 2021