JUPITER, Fla. (WSVN) – A South Florida community came together to honor the lives of two teenagers who vanished at sea two years ago.
People gathered behind the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse on the inlet beach and seawall to remember Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, two 14-year-old boys who motored out of the inlet two years ago and never returned.
“The first I saw of [their disappearance] was on the news, and I was just shocked, you know, that someone my age was in that situation,” said Anna McLean of Jupiter High School.
Authorities searched for the two friends for two weeks, but the boys were never found.
“The ongoing search for them was like a suspenseful thing. Like, ‘Is it going to happen?’ I was hoping it was going to happen, and we were praying, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” said McLean.
The outpouring of support continued even after the boys didn’t return, and community’s motto became “Never forget.”
“Austin and Perry left a footprint on all of us, and I think that together, as a community, one of the most beautiful things about Jupiter is how we can all come together as a community to mourn,” said the Stand Up Foundation’s Ashley Legrange.
Teens and adults lit candles and watched the water as the boat owned by Stephanos’ family came back through the inlet lit by sparklers.
The Cohen family was also on the beach. They chose to stay out of the limelight but said they are grateful for the support.
“I hope everyone gets time to remember Austin and Perry and they all think of all the beautiful things they got to enjoy with them,” said Legrange, “and remember them with light, happiness, love and know that they are here with us. It’s just so important to continue to remember.”
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