South Florida

Boat, iPhone found in case of Tequesta teens lost at sea

CBS4

AP

There are some developments in the case of two teens who disappeared at sea nine months ago.

At a hearing in Palm Beach County Friday, the families of 14-year-olds Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos agreed to have an iPhone found last month with their boat to be sent to apple for analysis.

It was Perry’s family that had filed suit to gain access to information on Austin’s phone.

Now that phone is heading to Cupertino, California via FedEx so Apple can determine if information can be retrieved that will lead to clues about the boys’ disappearance.

Austin and Perry’s small boat was found empty near Bermuda by a Norwegian supply ship.

“We only knew that we were supposed to head to Norway. We didn’t even have a set date,” said Havard Melvaer, captain of the Edda Fjord.

In his only television interview, Captain Havard Melvaer said it was pure coincidence that he spotted a small capsized boat off the side of his ship while sailing off the coast of Bermuda.

When he saw it, he knew he just couldn’t leave it.

“In general, a boat has the potential to be a tragedy, which, in this case, it was,” he said.

It took time but the crew hauled the boat on board and Captain Melvaer immediately saw something that stood out.

“There was a motor on it and it was also a very nice, complete boat, apparently solid. It wasn’t something that you accidentally leave on the beach and it just gets washed away,” he said.

A copy of the official Wildlife’s Commission investigation into the boys’ disappearance said this was actually the third time that the boat was found.

The first was just two days after the boat disappeared just east of Volusia County.

The second was a month and a half later, in September, about 160 miles off Florida’s coast.

Both times the boat was gone when they went to tow it in.

And according to the investigation, it wasn’t just the boat that was spotted.

A pilot searching for the boat swears he spotted one of the boys two days after they vanished.

According to the report, “He saw two white pieces of debris tied together with an orange jacket. Laying on the debris… was a person on their back, lifting their arms above their head.”

The report does not state where this was, but stated the pilot lost sight of the raft and the Coast Guard was unable to find anything.

And here’s something else from that report.

Investigators asked two companies to help them track Austin’s i{Phonewhich was found on the boat, and they both refused.

Both AT&T and Snapchat complied with search warrants and provided investigators with basic information about the phone, but nothing else.

“AT&T would not release the phone records with cell tower information to us without a search warrant. Cell tower information might tell us the location of Austin’s phone throughout the day,” the report stated.

Investigators were unable to get that search warrant because this was never a criminal investigation.

Perry’s parents said they’re hoping that officials will reopen their investigation into the boys’ disappearance.

The family is also hoping investigators will use all resources available to retrieve the data from Austin’s iPhone.

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