Florida Families End Private Search for Teens Missing at Sea

PHOTO: Pictured are Austin Stephanos, 14, and Perry Cohen, 14, who went missing on a fishing trip in Florida.U.S. Coast Guard press release
Pictured are Austin Stephanos, 14, and Perry Cohen, 14, who went missing on a fishing trip in Florida.

The families of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, two Florida teenagers who went missing on a boating trip several weeks ago, have ended their privately led search for the boys.

“Absent new information, continuing the search is not practical,” a family representative said, according to a statement released today by the families.

Austin and Perry, both 14, were last seen July 24. Their boat was found abandoned off the coast of central Florida two days later.

The Coast Guard led an eight-day search in the Atlantic for the boys, covering 50,000 nautical miles. The Coast Guard suspended its search July 31, but said if new information came to light, it would reopen the case.

The families said in a joint statement released today: "We love our boys and want them home. Today, our hope becomes our prayer — that one day Perry and Austin will be returned to us. We thank everyone for their dedicated efforts and support."

The statement added: “We will never stop looking for our boys, Austin and Perry. We want to thank the US Coast Guard and the many volunteers from Florida to Maine whose contributions were nothing short of extraordinary."

The families plan to create a foundation in the teens' honor that promotes youth boating safety and education, according to the statement.