An iPhone 6 is at the center of an investigation of two missing Florida teens. Last July, 14-year-olds Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen set out on a boat trip in the Atlantic Ocean, but both of the bodies went missing and boys never returned. The United States Coast Guard performed an eight-day search for the boys, but never found them. Last, month, however, their boat was recovered 100 miles off the shore of Bermuda and on the boat was Stephanos’ iPhone (via ABC News).
The iPhone was initially given to Stephanos’ father, but Cohen’s mother took the case to court to fight that the iPhone should be handed over to experts so its contents could be analyzed for evidence of foul-play and clues as to where the boys disappeared to.
An emergency hearing was held yesterday to rule in the case and an agreement was reached for Apple to analyze the device’s data. Apple, according to the Stephanos’ family attorney, has agreed to take in the iPhone, analyze its contents, seal all evidence, and send it back to the court.
The Cohen family initially took the case to court to argue that the iPhone should have been given to experts from the start by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, not the Stephanos family. The Cohen family and their lawyer said the following in an injunction:
The Plaintiff believes the information on Austin’s iPhone must be collected by technology experts who have the expertise required to extract such data without unnecessary risks of losing such information inadvertently or due to inexperience in such highly technical matters.
At this point, it’s unclear as to what measures Apple will have to take to analyze data on Austin Stephanos’ iPhone, but the device is severely water damaged. Despite this, the Stephanos family says they will “take every means necessary to have that phone forensically analyzed.”
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