Father of teen missing at sea thankful for outpouring support

Philip Cohen holds out hope son will be found


PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A father is thankful for the outpouring amount of support and help in the quest to find his missing son, but he will not give up on the search.

RELATED: Father of teen lost at sea confident son will be found

Philip Cohen only talked to Local 10 News for the first time since the search for his son was suspended. In the interview, he shared part of the last conversation that he had with his son, Perry Cohen.

"The last words my son said to me was that, 'I love you so much,'" Philip Cohen said. "I love him so much and I want to see him again."

Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos have been lost at sea since last Friday. After eight days of searching for the 14-year-old boys, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday it was suspending the search -- a move that was hard even for Capt. Mark Fedor.

"I have a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old, so the decision to suspend was excruciating and gut-wrenching for me personally," Fedor said.

For Philip Cohen, the decision was tough to take, but the father is still appreciative for everything that's being done to find his only son.

"I wanted to come out today to express my sincerest gratitude to the Coast Guard, the tremendous effort that they have put in, to the Navy, to the Air Force, to all the families and all the agencies and all of the private citizens who have worked and searched so hard to find my son Perry and his friend Austin," Philip Cohen said.

Philip Cohen understands the statistical rational behind suspending the search, but explains that he will not give up.

"He's strong. He's smart. He's athletic. He's resourceful. He's a thinker. He's a leader," Philip Cohen said. "What I know about my boy is what keeps all of my hope and prayers alive."

RELATED: Coast Guard suspends search for teens missing at sea

While the Coast Guard had to pull out of the search, private parties from all over the coast are still looking for the boys.

"I feel that thank you and appreciate doesn't compare to words that I really want to say, which is I love them for doing that," Philip Cohen said.

A recent post on social media by Perry Cohen's mother showed a request for contacts, resources and helicopter help in the Carolinas.

Despite the odds, Philip Cohen remains faithful, relying on family support and continues to call on a higher power for help.

"I know my boy, and I know and I believe that he's still out there and he's still alive," Philip Cohen said. "Prayers are powerful, and I believe that miracles do happen."

A GoFundMe account has been created for anyone who would like to donate to the search to find the boys.

Follow Shyann Malone on Twitter @ShyannMalone

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10