Boat of 14-Year-Old Boys Who Went Missing Off Florida Coast Found
The 19-foot Seacraft boat that Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14-year-old residents of Tequesta, were in when they vanished on July 24 was found on March 18 about 100 miles from Bermuda, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss said in a statement, CNN reports. An iPhone and other personal items were found on board the boat.
Doss said that a marine store sticker on the boat and the engine’s serial number helped identify the Stephanos family as the boat’s owners.
“This is an open missing persons case, and we hope that [the Fish and Wildlife Commission] reopens their investigation and utilizes the expert resources of other government agencies as well as the private sector if necessary to extrapolate the data from the recovered iPhone,” Cohen’s parents said in a statement posted to the Perry J. Cohen Foundation’s Facebook page Saturday morning.
The boat and all items on board have been turned over to the Florida branch of the FWC, Pamela Cohen and Nick Korniloff said. The boat is expected to arrive back in Florida on May 16.
The Seacraft was previously spotted near Daytona Beach, Florida, on July 26, two days after the boys went missing, according to the Post. The Coast Guard attached a data marker buoy to the boat and left to continue the search for the boys, but upon returning to the location of the buoy, the boat had vanished.
After the boys went missing during a burst of bad weather, a massive search ensued from Florida to North Carolina. U.S. Coast Guard Spokesman Petty Officer Mark Barney told PEOPLE at the time that the search had spanned tens of thousands of nautical miles and extended about 90 miles off the coast.
The Coast Guard eventually ended the public search for the boys on July 31, but the families’ private search stretched into early August.