Missing Florida Teens Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos Sent Snapchat Message to Friends
The two Florida teens who went lost at sea last year sent an ominous Snapchat message to their friends.
As the weather turned bad, the teens, who were fishing together, wrote: “We’re f’d.”
Approximately 128 pages of social media posts, investigative reports, cell phone records, FBI emails, and interview notes were released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) this week, reported People.
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, 14, disappeared in July 2015 after leaving for a fishing trip from Jupiter. They haven’t been seen since, but their boat was found capsized last month. Perry had stayed the night with Austin and Austin’s mother, Carly Black. The boys grabbed $100 that was left out for them before they loaded the boat and headed off.
Austin’s iPhone was found on the boat, and the boys had also used Snapchat, according to the documents. Several friends reported getting the message, but it’s unclear when the post was sent out.
Multiple friends and classmates told investigators they got Instagram and Snapchat posts from Austin. His “austinfishkille” Snapchat featured four fishing rods with the words, “Peace out Jup,” referring to Jupiter, Fla.
Friends also said the boys were planning to fish “far off shore.”
At around 1:30 p.m. on the day of the teens’ disappearance, a storm hit the area, which included winds of 20-40 mph. That may have been enough to capsize the boat.
This week, an attorney for the family of Perry Cohen, Guy Rubin, questioned why the new FWC photos of the boat show the engine and battery turned off.
“Why would they turn the engine and battery off? Were they broken down? Maybe there was a third person aboard. Common sense tells us this new information means we need an impartial expert to examine the iPhone,” attorney Guy Rubin told WPXI-TV.
The photos were taken by crew members of the Edda Fjord, who found the capsized boat 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda a month ago. They took the boat on board their vessel and shot the photos before sending it to the FWC.
The photos show the barnacle-encrusted boat engine, console, hull and the tag on the engine that identified the boat belonged to the two teens. The photos also show the crew hoisting the boat aboard the 330-foot vessel.
Austin’s iPhone, two fishing rods and two small tackle boxes were recovered, according to U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss. The boat is scheduled to arrive at Port Everglades on May 16.
Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother, also filed a lawsuit over the iPhone.
“Plaintiff will continue to suffer irreparable harm if the iPhone is not properly handled as material evidence in a possible maritime crime or homicide,” reads the complaint, which sought to block the FWC’s return of Austin’s iPhone to the Stephanos family, according to People.
“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,” Rubin had told WPBF. “The key in the ignition was in the off position.”
— WPTV (@WPTV) November 13, 2015
“If the storm came and capsized the boat, the battery switch and the key would not be in those positions,” Rubin continued. “We want forensic experts in accident reconstruction to look at the boat and tell us what happened. I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but I’m also trying to take it from a scientific approach.”
Pamela Cohen posted a statement on her Facebook page Wednesday, explaining her family’s case.
“The past 8 and a half months have been the most grueling and life shattering anyone could imagine,” she wrote. “Two beautiful boys went out for a day of fun never to return or be heard from again. As Perry’s mother – I have no choice but to do whatever is humanly possible to obtain any bit of information to what happened to him on that fateful day.”
“Some of you may not agree with our choice to take this into the public forum or to fight to keep the phone with authorities; and that is ok,” she continued. “All I want is the information available, if there is any, pertaining to the fateful day of their disappearance. I am not interested in exploiting the private and personal photos, which may be recovered – this has never been our intention.
Cohen had released a statement on Tuesday saying she plans on dropping the lawsuit only if the FWC gets written consent that it will allow an impartial investigator to analyze the iPhone, CBS12 reported.
Perry also sent a text to his mother before his message apparently was cut off.
“Mom, it’s Perry. My iPad is dead, I’ll text you in a little. Love you,” Cohen wrote to his mother, reported the New York Daily News.
— Andrew Ruiz (@AndrewNRuiz) April 23, 2016
She wrote back, “OK. I wanted you to sleep home tonight, I miss you. We leave Sunday morning for New York. What about your work?”
“But I was going to sleep at,,,” he wrote.
Searchers spent months trying to find the boys.
Meanwhile, a pilot claims to have spotted the boys one of them two days after the boys disappeared.
“He saw two white pieces of debris tied together with an orange life jacket,” a report from investigators said. “Laying on the debris was a person on their back, lifting their arms above their head.”
When the Coast Guard responded to the area, they couldn’t find anything.