Parents of missing journalist Austin Tice speak to press in Beirut

 

McClatchy Newspapers

The parents of missing American journalist Austin Tice appealed for information about their son Monday at a news conference in Beirut.

Marc and Debra Tice said they’d had no contact with their eldest son since Aug. 13. His last known location was Daraya, Syria, near Damascus, they said.

“Is he well?” Marc Tice asked. “How can we contact him? And how can we return him to our family? If anyone who hears this has any information about Austin, especially what we can do to bring him home, please contact us.”

Austin Tice was reporting on Syria’s civil war when he disappeared this summer. The 31-year-old freelance journalist from Houston reported from the front lines of the conflict for McClatchy, The Washington Post, CBS News, Al Jazeera English and Agence France-Presse. He’s a Georgetown University Law Center student and Marine Corps veteran.

Marc Tice said the family had been in touch “indirectly and directly” with Syrian government officials, but “they have indicated to us they don’t know where Austin is.”

He said the family was “reaching out to everyone that we can get in touch with to try to get their help in determining where Austin is and what we need to do bring him home.”

After Tice’s disappearance, information from official and unofficial sources indicated that Syrian authorities had captured him. The Syrian government denied any involvement or knowledge of his whereabouts, however.

On Sept. 8, Debra Tice sent a Twitter message to Syria Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, asking him to have compassion on her family “and release our son, Austin Tice, to us.”

Makdissi replied: “If he is to be found inside Sy. I am def sure ur gov will B notified. R u sure he is inside Syria? Reports he entered illegally.”

A YouTube video posted in late September appears to show Austin Tice in captivity. In the 47-second clip, masked men march him up a hill, chanting, “God is great.” Forced to his knees, a blindfolded and distraught Tice tries to recite an Islamic prayer before gasping, “Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.”

His mother said Monday that his absence had left a “terrible void” in the lives of his parents and six younger siblings.

“With the approaching holiday season, we are even more dismayed by the empty chair at our family table,” Debra Tice said. “We miss Austin’s knowing smile, his big laugh and his great storytelling. The energetic joy in our home has been greatly diminished.”

She added, “Austin is a cherished son and beloved brother. If he were your son or brother, I ask, what would you do to find him and return him to your family?"

The Tice family can be reached via the website www.austinticefamily.com or by email at information@austinticefamily.com.

“We ask whoever is holding Austin to please treat him well, keep him safe and return him to us as soon as you can,” Marc Tice said.

Email: lwise@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @lindsaywise

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
An Israeli soldier leans on the barrel of the gun of a mobile artillery unit at a position on the Israel-Gaza border, Friday, July 11, 2014. Gaza rocket fire struck a gas station and set it ablaze Friday in southern Israel, seriously wounding one person as rocket fire also came from Lebanon for the first time in the four-day-long offensive. Rocket fire by Palestinian militants continued from Gaza toward various locations in southern Israel.

    Palestinians draft UN resolution urging cease-fire

    The Palestinians and their international supporters are discussing a U.N. draft resolution that would condemn all violence against civilians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and call for "an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire."

  •  
FILE - In this June 2, 2014 file photo, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff holds up the 2014 World Cup trophy after it was officially presented to Rousseff by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, during a ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Rousseff met Friday, July 11, 2014 with a group of foreign journalists in Brasilia, where she hailed Brazil proved skeptics wrong who said the nation couldn't organize a successful World Cup, and said it boded well for its hosting of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

    Rousseff: Brazil proved World Cup doubters wrong

    President Dilma Rousseff said Friday that on the eve of the World Cup's final match this weekend, her country has proved doubters of Brazil's ability to organize a big event wrong.

  • UN expected to vote Monday to speed aid to Syria

    Sponsors of a U.N. resolution that would authorize cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrians in desperate need of food and medicine finalized the text ahead of a Security Council vote expected on Monday.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category