Lawyer: Missing Teens' Boat Has Disturbing Clue
He suspects foul play could be involved
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2016 3:57 AM CDT
Updated Apr 28, 2016 6:52 AM CDT
These photos provided by the US Coast Guard show Perry Cohen, left, and Austin Stephanos.   (US Coast Guard via AP, File)

(Newser) – A clue in photos of the recently recovered boat of two missing Florida teens opens up some disturbing possibilities, according to the lawyer of one boy's mother. Guy Rubin tells WPBF that the photos show the boat's battery switch and ignition key in the off position, signaling that it was "disabled intentionally," not by a storm. Rubin, who represents Perry Cohen's mother, says he doesn't want to be "alarmist," but "maybe they were abducted. Or maybe there was foul play because they had thousands of dollars' worth of reels." Perry and his friend Austin Stephanos, both 14, vanished after setting off from Jupiter, Fla., for a fishing trip last July and were never heard from again.

"Why would they turn the engine and battery off? Were they broken down? Maybe there was a third person aboard," Rubin says. Local boating experts, however, tell the Palm Beach Post that it could easily be the case that the boys had simply turned the engine off to stop and fish, or turned the battery off to conserve power. The Cohen and Stephanos families have been at odds since the boys disappeared, People reports. The Cohens filed a lawsuit earlier this week to block the release of Austin's iPhone to his family, arguing it could hold clues and that authorities should keep it until an impartial expert conducted a full examination. The phone has now been released to the Stephanos family, which has promised to share any recovered information with the Cohens. (The Norwegian ship captain who spotted the boys' boat says it was an amazing stroke of luck.)