Mom of Teen Missing at Sea with Friend in 2015 Showed 'Egregious Lapse of Judgment,' Report Concludes – PEOPLE.com
Investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say the mother of one of two teen boys who disappeared during a fishing trip nearly two years ago showed an “egregious lapse of judgement and failure to exercise due care.”
In a newly released report obtained by PEOPLE, the FDLE says the actions – or lack thereof – of Carlson “Carly” Black, mother of 14-year-old Austin Stephanos, “had the effect of culminating in the disappearance of both boys who are now believed to have perished.”
Investigators found probable cause that Black violated Florida State Statute 827.03, which governs abuse, aggravated abuse and neglect of a child. Top factors include evidence that Black allowed her son and Perry to travel offshore in Austin’s “minimally equipped” 19-foot 1978 SeaCraft knowing that the boat lacked basic safety devices. The report says Black also knew Perry’s parents forbade him to go offshore without an adult, waited more than two hours to notify Cohen’s parents that the boys were missing, and failed to notify emergency or law enforcement agencies.
The last known communication from either of the boys occurred at 11:24 on the morning of their disappearance, when Austin texted Black and his father, Blu Stephanos, Black’s ex-husband.
“What’s up? I am checking in. I’m just out here fishing,” the text read.
Records show Black testified that around 2:00, she had become aware of a “quick summer storm that rolled in fast … and was fierce.” Realizing that Austin hadn’t checked in again, she began calling and texting her son, as well as Diane Stephanos, Black’s ex-mother-in-law and Austin’s grandmother, whose home the boys visited to pick up tackle and supplies earlier that