Nearly ten months after two teenage boys disappeared on an afternoon fishing trip, their parents are no closer to knowing what happened to their sons.
It was about 11 AM on July 24, 2015, when best friends Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos fuelled up their 19ft [5.8m] aluminium boat and set out from South Florida’s Jupiter Inlet for an afternoon of fishing.
But by late afternoon, with no check-in text from Perry since morning, fear set in and Perry’s family called 911.
Within hours government agents, private security firms and hundreds of volunteers were combing sea, air and land in search of the boys. No trace of the 14 year olds was found.
“It was the most gruelling and life-shattering experience anyone could imagine,” said Perry’s mother Pamela Cohen.
Then, on March 18, the boys’ capsized boat—with Austin’s iPhone 6 still aboard in a latched compartment—was recovered by the crew of a Norwegian freighter 160km off the Bermuda coast.
“It’s miraculous, really, that it was found,” says Cohen in an exclusive interview with WHO at her home in Tequesta, Florida.
The phone was returned to Austin’s family, but Cohen and her husband, Perry’s stepdad, Nick Korniloff filed a lawsuit to have the phone forensically examined for call logs, text messages, pictures and any other information. Korniloff calls the phone a “personal black box”.
A court ordered that the device be sent for forensic analysis to manufacturer Apple Inc, which on May 10 revealed its experts were unable to restore the iPhone (it is believed it may have been submerged for months).
But Cohen hasn’t given up. “According to Apple, there are other experts in the field who may be able to pick up where Apple left off, to continue the work," Cohen said.
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