Mother of Missing Teen Fisherman Suing Other Boy's Family

Nearly two years after two teens disappeared during a fishing trip off Florida's coast, the mother of one of the boys is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the other boy's family.

The attorney for Pamela Cohen announced the lawsuit against Carly Black, who owned the 19-foot boat her son Austin Stephanos was in when he left Jupiter Inlet on July 24, 2015, with Cohen's son Perry. Both were 14.

"This lawsuit is about truth, accountability, and justice. Because the state attorney declined to pursue a criminal case, a civil action is now Pamela Cohen’s only course," attorney Guy Rubin said in a statement. "A civil action carries with it the opportunity to find the truth and let the sword of justice swing without favor, sympathy, or prejudice."

NBC 6 has reached out to Black for comment but has yet to hear back.

The boys, who were from Tequesta, disappeared during a storm off the coast after leaving from Jupiter Inlet. Their capsized boat was initially found about 60 miles off Daytona Beach, but it wasn't secured by officials. It was eventually recovered in the Bahamas by a Norwegian cargo ship.

In June, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a report that concluded there was probable cause to charge Black with child neglect. The state did not file charges, according to the report.

The report said Black didn't notify authorities or the Cohens that the boys were missing until several hours after she last had contact with them. Investigator said Black told them it was common for the boys to go fishing together, and she believed they were "the victims of a tragic mishap."

Black attempted to reach Austin after the storm started, but there was no response, investigators said in the report. She alerted other family members and friends before contacting Perry's parents, who called 911.

The state's investigation showed "the egregious lapse in judgment and failure to exercise due care had the effect of culminating in the disappearance of both boys who are now believed to have perished," the report said.

"Responsible parents would have never allowed 14-year-olds to go into the ocean on a small boat with no VHF radio, no tracking devices, no compass, and no voyage plan," Rubin said.

Cohen said any damages awarded by a jury will be donated to charity.

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