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Mother of Perry Cohen files wrongful-death lawsuit

Posted at 12:45 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 18:39:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -The mother of Perry Cohen, one of two teenagers lost at sea, is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the other youngster's family.

Perry and Austin Stephanos were last seen July 24, 2015, leaving the Jupiter Inlet.

"When she said goodbye with a kiss and a tight hug, she never imagined she would never see him again," said Pamela Cohen's attorney, Guy Rubin. "Pamela knew Austin's mother, Carly Black, and believed Austin's family would honor her rules and directions, and use reasonable judgment as Perry's trusted custodians."

At a Friday morning news conference Cohen's attorney said he has filed a lawsuit against those who contributed to Perry's disappearance and presumed death, claiming they didn't act responsibly before, during, and after the boys' disappearance.

"Civil action carries with it the opportunity to find the truth and let the sword of justice swing without favor, sympathy, or prejudice. That is the American way," he said.

RELATED: More Austin & Perry coverage

Listed in the lawsuit are Carlson "Carly" Black, Richard Brian "Bubba" Black, Jr., William "Blu" Stephanos and Richard Kuntz.

Cohen's attorney listed a series of reasons for filing the lawsuit. Among them, he said that Austin's boat was not equipped to go into the ocean. Also, he claimed Austin's parents knew he was taking Perry fishing offshore even though they knew Perry wasn't allowed without his mother's permission and adult supervision.

"All of this just didn't add up. What were they trying to hide or protect?" attorney Guy Rubin asked.

Michael Pike, the attorney for Austin's father Blu Stephanos said he was disappointed and refuted the allegations, saying his client didn't know the boys were going out fishing and that his son was in the custody of his mother at the time, with whom he was separated. 

WPTV has also reached out to Austin's mother's attorney for reaction to the lawsuit and has yet to hear back.

Cohen's attorney said because the State Attorney declined to pursue a criminal case, a civil action is Pamela Cohen's only course. An FDLE investigation into Carly Black, Austin's mother, had previously found evidence of negligence, but the state decided not to pursue charges.

"For Pamela, the bond with her one and only child, is too strong to let this pass without pursuing the truth," said Rubin on behalf of Cohen.

He said if a jury were to award damages it would be donated to charity.

"This lawsuit is about truth, accountability, and justice," attorney Guy Rubin said.