Two 14-year-old boys from Jupiter, Florida, went missing at sea in July of 2015 after they encountered bad weather while on a fishing trip without adult supervision. Austin Stephanos & Perry Cohen went fishing for dolphin on July 24, 2015, and informed their friends via social media that they would be fishing “far off shore.” However, when neither teen returned that night, the boys were reported missing and a massive U.S. Coast Guard search was started.
After two days of searching, the U.S. Coast Guard would make a grim discovery. The teens’ boat was found capsized 67 miles off the coast of Daytona Beach. A tow vehicle was sent to bring the boat back to shore. However, before the boat could be retrieved, it would drift away. The boat would finally be spotted again nine months later, this time off the coast of Bermuda. Surprisingly, the vessel still contained Stephanos’ iPhone, which may hold clues to the boys disappearance.
The Daily Mail reports that an iPhone belonging to one of the missing Jupiter, Florida, teenss was recovered from the newly discovered vessel. The phone may provide officials with clues into the disappearance of the teens as data may be recoverable. Authorities report that the last known message sent from the teens while aboard the vessel was a short Snapchat of the boys noting that “we’re f***ed” as they appeared to realize they were in grave danger as the storm rolled in.
The two 14-year-old boys went missing in July of 2015 after they went on an unsupervised fishing trip together. Social media accounts and phone records obtained by authorities indicate that the teens planned to go “far off shore”. Austin allegedly posted “Peace out Jupiter” to his Instagram before heading out with Perry to fish. He noted in the post that they were going to go “far off shore” for dolphin.
The teens continued to communicate with family and on social media while on the boat as Austin’s iPhone pinged back and forth between an off-shore cell tower and a tower in-shore. However, Perry Cohen’s cell phone was not working so he texted his family from Austin’s phone during the trip. The last social media post to go out by the boys was a Snapchat of the boys noting that “we’re f****d” as storms rolled into the area.
Following the Snapchat, the teens would vanish, and their bodies would never be recovered. However, nine months after the Florida teens went missing, their capsized boat would once again be recovered off the coast of Bermuda. Inside the boat, investigators would find clues that may indicate what happened to the boys in their final moments as Austin’s iPhone remained in the vessel. Additionally, investigators suggest that key components of the vessel were “tampered with” which could indicate “foul play.”
Pictures taken by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show that both the battery and the ignition had been switched off. This, according to the Cohen family’s attorney, could mean that the boat was tampered with at some point.
“We do know for sure that boat was disabled intentionally because the battery switch, which is very difficult to get to, was in the off position. That can’t be maneuvered by the passage of time, the current, and other events. The key in the ignition was in the off position. If the storm came and capsized the boat, the battery switch and the key would not be in those positions.”
Though tampering is a possibility, marine expert Captain Jimmy Hill tells the Daily Mail that the boys were likely the ones to tamper with the boat after it experienced trouble, as they were likely trying to conserve energy to use for communication devices by disabling the battery switch. They would have also likely turned the ignition switch to off in a bid to shut off the alarms that were likely sounding on the boat.
“If the boat had any type of mechanical failure, it would have been shut off, otherwise the alarm on the engine would have been driving them crazy if they left it on. Those particular items, by themselves without any other information, are not particularly shocking.”
Do you think any information will be extracted from the iPhone that could provide the families with closure regarding exactly what happened to the two missing teens?