The 16-day long search for the two missing Florida teen boaters has been brought to an end.
According to a family spokesperson, the families of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen have announced that the search for the two teens that has spanned hundreds of miles along the Atlantic Coast will end.
The spokesperson added that the families “faced the harsh reality of no new, credible evidence or clues to guide the search,” in his statement.
The two 14-year-old teens were last seen Friday, July 24, heading out into the Atlantic in a 19-foot center console boat. Their capsized boat was found two days later off the coast of Cape Canaveral on, July 26.
The missing teens’ parents had originally believed that they were only going to take the boat out to a local river and waterway and not to the deep waters of the Atlantic ocean. This was the house rule that the teens had followed on previous outings.
On Friday, July 31, the United States Coast Guard suspended their search for the missing teens.
The families continued their search for the missing teens and even raised just below $480,000 on a GoFundMe page that allowed individuals to donate money in order to help pay for the private airplanes and boats needed to search the waters of the Atlantic stretching from Florida up to South Carolina.
Joe Namath, the former NFL player, even offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the return of the two missing Florida teens.
The families of Austin and Perry have released this official statement.
“We love our boys and want them home. Today, our hope becomes our prayer – that one day Perry and Austin will be returned to us. We thank everyone for their dedicated efforts and support. We will never stop looking for our boys, Austin and Perry. We want to thank the U.S. Coast Guard and the many volunteers from Florida to Maine whose contributions were nothing short of extraordinary. We express a special debt of gratitude to the Palm Beach community for its generosity and out pouring of love and support. We ask that you join us in our prayer that one day Perry and Austin will be reunited with their families.”
A charity foundation is currently in the process of being established by the families of the missing teens in order to help educate young boaters on boat safety. It also hopes to seek legislative action to improve boater safety.
[Image via Cohen and Stephanos families]