Missing Florida Teen’s Phone Can Go to Another Investigative Agency: Judge
The iPhone belonging to one of two Florida teens who went missing while fishing off the coast of Florida last year was the subject of another court ruling on Thursday, according to reports.
Another agency can attempt to decipher what is on 14-year-old Austin Stephanos’ iPhone, a Palm Beach County judge told the families, reported MyPalmBeachPost.com.
The iPhone was sent to Apple, who disassembled the smartphone and were unable to extract any information from it. The iPhone was found on the 19-foot boat the two teens used to leave Jupiter Inlet on July 24, 2015. They never came back–prompting a massive search—and are presumed dead.
The boat was found in March by a Norwegian ship about 100 miles from the coast of Bermuda. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is carrying out an investigation along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on the boat after it was taken to a port in Florida in May.
Both families, via their lawyers, agreed for another agency to check the phone. An agreement will be drawn up by the two families after the agency is determined, Judge Gregory Keyser said.
“This is the next logical step. We don’t want to give up resurrecting the phone,” Gary Farmer, the attorney representing Phil Cohen, Perry Cohen’s father, told the Post.
The families’ attorneys told Judge Keyser they want to look at a report from a search company that discovered two life jackets and a floatation device in Georgia about 10 days after the boys disappeared.
“We want the report so we can have all the information relevant to the case,” said Michael Pike, lawyer for the Stephanos family.
When he was asked how the families were coping, Pike told the Post: “Everyone is devastated. They are getting along the best they can.”
Austin’s iPhone could have been submerged in saltwater for as long as eight months. It was found inside a compartment in the boat, NBC News reported.
Last month, Pamela Cohen, the mother of Perry, said that the FWC should do a “a proper forensic examination” of the boat.
“The FWC has indicated publicly it would ‘take a look’ at the boat when it arrives at Port Everglades, however my client would like FWC to do more than just ‘take a look,'” Pamela Cohen’s attorney said, per NBC News. “The vessel has yet to be examined by law enforcement and may be the best lead to determine if there may have been some criminal conduct that lead (sic) to the disappearance of the boys.”