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Perry Cohen's family files civil lawsuit against Stephanos family

The mother of Perry Cohen is filing a civil lawsuit against the family of Austin Stephanos. (WPEC)

The mother of Perry Cohen is filing a civil lawsuit against the family of Austin Stephanos.

The announcement of the lawsuit was announced at a Friday morning news conference in front of the Palm Beach County Courthouse.

Attorney Guy Rubin says Pamela Cohen is filing the lawsuit against all parties involved in the disappearance and presumed death of Perry including: William Stephanos, Carlson Black, Richard Black Jr. and Richard Kuntz.

According to the lawsuit, Perry told his mother he planned to spend the night at Austin's house, then fish in the river the morning of July 24, 2015.

However, the teen boys had plans to fish along the Florida coast.

According to Rubin, it was common knowledge among the families that Perry was not allowed to go fishing in the ocean without adult supervision or his mother's permission.

The lawsuit claims despite this knowledge, Austin's family provided him with money for fuel and gear to go deep sea fishing. It also states Austin's grandfather, Richard Kuntz, knew the boat they were taking out to sea was not equipped with any communication equipment, GPS or beacon necessary to require aid in the event of an emergency.

Records show Austin texted both his mother and father just before 11:30 a.m. to let them know they were safe.


Hours later, a rough storm passed through the Tequesta/Jupiter area. Fishers and boaters familiar with the waters say storms passing through can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening for all vessels, especially smaller boats.

The lawsuit states that after the storm subdued, Austin's mother, Carly Black, did not receive any texts or phone calls from him saying he and Perry were alright. She reportedly notified other family members and Austin's father, William Stephanos conducted his own search for the boys.

Perry's mother was notified as well as law enforcement. The boys were never found.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, investigators found probable cause for violations of child neglect by Carly Black.

The FDLE also states had the boys' boat had the proper communication equipment, authorities would have been able to properly execute a search.

Rubin states in the lawsuit that Austin had a "close call" with another storm the day before on July 23, and his mother still allowed him to go out onto the water with a friend the next day.

Based on the evidence and reasons stated in the civil lawsuit, Rubin says he believes that Perry Cohen's family have probable cause to file a civil lawsuit against Austin Stephanos' family.

You can read the full civil lawsuit document below. Mobile users can view the lawsuit here.




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