Monday marks two years since 14-year-olds Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen vanished while fishing off the coast of Florida. And now the tragic anniversary has been marked with a lawsuit.
The pair had taken Stephanos’s family boat out by themselves on the morning of July 24, 2015, when an Atlantic storm swept through the region.
Their capsized vessel was found floating off Daytona Beach two days later, but after a 16-day search spanning four US states, no trace of the teenagers was ever found.
Cohen’s mother, Pamela, on Friday filed a wrongful death suit at civil court in Palm Beach against Stephanos’ relatives, claiming they were negligent in letting the boys take the 19-foot boat out in inclement weather, unsupervised and with no GPS or two-way radio.
According to the woman’s lawyer, Guy Rubin, the suit (which names Stephanos’ mother, father, stepfather and grandfather) aims to bring closure to Cohen’s loved ones.
“It’s about finding the truth and teaching lessons about parental responsibility,” he told BuzzFeed News. “They desperately miss their son and not having any finality as to what happened to him hurts the most. It just leaves an open wound.”