Federal Lawsuit Filed in Case of Two Missing Florida Boys

June 20, 2017 Updated: June 20, 2017

Two years after two Florida boys went missing at sea, a federal lawsuit has been filed over the case.

The mother of a Florida boy Austin Stephanos is suing the mother of Perry Cohen. Perry and Austin went missing after leaving for a fishing trip in July 2015, prompting a massive sea manhunt.

Carly Black, Austin’s mother, filed a suit against Perry’s parents after Black was subjected to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation showing she showed an “egregious lapse in judgment and failure to exercise due care” in allowing the two to go boating “minimally equipped,” as the Palm Beach Post reported.

Black filed the suit to limit her civil liability to the value of the boat the boys were on, which is $500, WPTV reported.

People magazine reported that Black waited for two hours after she realized the teens were missing to notify Perry’s mother, Pamela Cohen. Meanwhile, the report says she didn’t notify law enforcement.

“[She allowed them to] go offshore into the Atlantic Ocean, an inherently dangerous environment, in a minimally equipped 19-foot boat with a single outboard motor without adult or parental supervision,” the report says.

Black responded through a lawyer.

“Carly has also suffered the loss of her son, Austin, in addition to the loss of his friend, Perry, as a result of this tragedy,” he said. “There will be an appropriate occasion for Carly to address the issues contained in the report, but, because of civil litigation, and based upon the advice of her legal counsel, this is not the appropriate time or occasion to do so.”

Cohen also released a statement, reported People magazine.

It read:

“Pamela Cohen is a grieving mother in search of answers to her son’s disappearance. Last week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) concluded its investigation into the disappearance of Perry J. Cohen and his friend Austin. The new revelations in the FDLE report paint a stark picture, one characterized by a calamity of errors in judgment and missteps that could have potentially averted this tragic loss of life. As she and her family process the FDLE report and new information regarding the boys’ disappearance, Ms. Cohen requests her privacy be respected.

“While appreciative of efforts by FDLE and FWC, important questions remain unanswered and the actions of those involved must be held accountable. Since the active phase FDLE’s investigation, Ms. Cohen continues to be forced to defend her legal rights in a federal maritime action brought by Austin’s mother, Mrs. Carly Black. That court action seeks to limit the value of all losses, including the lives of Perry and Austin, to $500.00, and would restrict Ms. Cohen’s legal rights to further seek justice. Ms. Cohen is committed to pursuing the truth in a manner that affirms her rights as a parent and respects the life and memory of her son, Perry, and his friend Austin.”

In March 2016, the boys’ boat was recovered off the coast of Bermuda.

The last known communication from either of the two boys took place at 11:24 a.m. on the day of their disappearance, July 24, 2015. “What’s up? I am checking in. I’m just out here fishing,” the text read.

“Call me buddy,” Austin’s father, Blu, texted to Austin after hearing the boys hadn’t checked in after a storm rolled in. “Hey buddy, got me and your mom really worried about you. Please call immediately or text back.”