Apple unable to power on boater's iPhone

Posted at 10:36 AM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 23:07:45-04

The recovered iPhone from missing boater Austin Stephanos may not end up yielding any clues.

Last summer, Stephanos was lost at seaalong with his friend Perry Cohen.

The phone was sent to Apple for forensic examination.

Michael Pike, an attorney for Austin's father, says Apple had a team of engineers and staff working around the clock on Austin's phone but were not been successful powering it up.

Pike says he is discussing with his client other possible options and says the phone is currently still in Apple's possession.

The mother of Perry Cohen is not ready to give up. In a statement she said in part, "According to Apple, there are other experts in the field who may be able to pick up where Apple left off, to continue the work."  

She said she owes it to Perry "to exhaust every possible avenue in pursuit of finding out what happened," and looks forward to working with Austin's family.

RELATED: More Austin and Perry coverage 

Statement from Blu Stephanos through his attorney:

On Tuesday evening I was notified by my attorney, Michael Pike, that he had a conference call with the team leader at Apple, Inc. who informed him that, unfortunately, Austin’s iPhone could not be restored to working order. They also told him that the phone is currently in several pieces, since testing required them to disassemble it in order to run the diagnostics, clean and restore components and perform a chemical workup.

Although they were unable to restore the phone to a functional state, I want to thank Apple, Inc. for their hard work and generous assistance. If the FBI turned to Apple when they needed help, I see no reason to doubt that every possible means was employed to get Austin’s phone working again. It’s our understanding that Apple had a team assigned to the iPhone around the clock, and for that we are truly grateful.

Needless to say, we were disappointed, having hoped to get some information or maybe just some final memories from Austin’s phone. But the fact that it can no longer function as a phone doesn't diminish its value as a cherished memory of my beloved son. It's a small piece of him; something he used to call me at night when he needed to talk to someone, something he put his stickers on and carried with him every day. As any parent would understand, to me, it's not a broken phone, but a memory of my son that I will hold close to my heart and treasure for the rest of my life.

Thank you all for supporting us through this very difficult time. I hope now that we will be granted the courtesy to grieve in private.

Blu Stephanos

Statement from Pamela J. Cohen:

“We learned yesterday that Apple went as far as they could to try to get Austin's iPhone working, which, as Apple advised, was the first step in the process of retrieving information that might help us understand what happened to the boys. Apple also made it clear that getting the iPhone to power up was its only commitment to Blu Stephanos, which differs from what we heard from his attorney in court. For the generous efforts by Apple's engineers, who we understand worked tirelessly to try to help us, we are so very grateful.

As I've said before, I owe it to Perry to exhaust every possible avenue in pursuit of finding out what happened to him.  According to Apple, there are other experts in the field who may be able to pick up where Apple left off, to continue the work. Apple has offered to securely hand the iPhone off to an expert in this technology if the families can agree on such an expert. We look forward to working cooperatively with Austin's family toward this transition.  We are not giving up on the iPhone's potential for evidence until all viable efforts have been exhausted"

For the first time we are hearing from someone who might have seen the two boys just before they disappeared.

FWC has just released the recorded interview with Pamela Stabley. She is the woman who called the Coast Guard to report two young boys on a boat in distress.

"There were two kids. They looked young. Their body looked young, like my son and daughter.  Young.  The little blond I didn’t see. The blond popped up from the back. The head. I remember it being blond hair. The other one had dark hair kind of like a Tom Cruise or bowl cut. The wind was kind of blowing," Stabley told FWC investigators. On July 24th, Stabley reported seeing the boys in trouble in the water near the Jupiter Reef Club. She says that’s why she called the Coast Guard.