JUPITER, FLA. (WSVN) – It’s been three years since two Florida teens were lost at sea, and a community is still dealing with the pain and heartache.
In small groups, friends and loved ones arrived at the Jupiter inlet with flowers and candles as they built a makeshift memorial for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen.
“You don’t forget this; you don’t forget these kids,” said friend Debbi Brownell.
Tuesday marked the three-year anniversary the two 14-year-olds left the inlet on their boat and never returned.
Friends were at the memorial sharing what life is like without the boys.
“When you’re on the ocean, you feel like he’s watching you,” said TJ Carragher, “and every time you go on a boat, you feel like they’re both there.”
“He was my best friend. I mean, I have baby pictures with him,” said an emotional Caitlyn Calcaterra.
“It breaks my heart. It kills me. It hurts,” said Debbie Brownell.
Each of the boy’s parents posted videos on social media to mark the anniversary.
The AustinBlu Foundation showed Austin snorkeling along with the hashtags #WeMissAustin, #ForeverYoung, #AustinAngelBaby.
Pam Cohen posted photos of her son with a heartfelt message including the words, “I will never stop loving you. I will never give up. I will miss you more each passing day, and I will always honor you.”
Back at the inlet, friends set off fireworks in pairs for Stephanos and Cohen.
“Austin liked to have fun, so the way I put fun was fireworks at the inlet,” said Carragher.
As the sun went down, Perry’s family lit candles in a private memorial across from the inlet.
The Perry Cohen Foundation later posted a photo from the memorial on social media, along with the hash tags #WeMissPerry and #WeWillNeverForget.
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