• Missing teen's father: Slim chance info can be recovered from phone

    By: Lulu Ramadan , Palm Beach Post


    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Update, 1:20 p.m. EST: The family of Austin Stephanos, one of two Tequesta teens who went missing at sea last year, released a statement in response to news of a pending lawsuit barring the release of their son’s iPhone.

    Austin’s iPhone was recovered last month, after the boys’ boat was found at sea with the phone on board.

    Blu Stephanos, Austin’s father, said in the statement sent to The Palm Beach Post that they hope the manufacturer can “get the phone operational again. That would be the first order of business, since Austin’s phone has been submerged in salt water for over eight months.”

    Investigators at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Sunday that the phone would be released to the Stephanos family today. The iPhone remains with law enforcement today, according to the Cohen family.

    There is a slim chance that any information can be recovered from the phone, Stephanos said. He added: “But I’m not giving up hope.”

    If information is recovered, the Stephanos family plans to share it with law enforcement and the Cohen family, Stephanos said.

    In the statement, Stephanos also said: In light of the recent San Bernardino incident involving attempts by the FBI to retrieve data from a locked iPhone, we felt that it would be best to avoid the pressures of having these efforts played out in the media. We didn’t want to do anything publicly that might jeopardize the cooperation of the manufacturer. Unfortunately, I feel that the recent publicity and wild speculation may have done just that.

    Original story: The iPhone that belonged to one of the missing Tequesta teens which was recovered with their boat last month will remain with a state agency, a lawyer for one of the families said Monday.

    The attorney for the family of Perry Cohen said the phone will stay with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    The attorney said the family filed a lawsuit on Sunday to stop law enforcement from releasing the iPhone to the Stephanos family. The family met with the State Attorney’s office today.

    The phone belongs to the family of Austin Stephanos, the other teen who was lost at sea July 24, 2015, after they left from Jib Yacht Club & Marina in Tequesta. It was found along with fishing gear aboard the boat, which a Norwegian research ship spotted off the coast of Bermuda on March 18.

    The families to date had not resolved what to do with the phone.

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