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Parents of missing journalist Austin Tice speak to press in Beirut

By Lindsay Wise, McClatchy Newspapers –

WASHINGTON — 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 Newspapers, The Washington Post, CBS News, Al-Jazeera English and Agence France-Presse. He’s a Georgetown University Law Center student and Marine Corps veteran.

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.

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.”

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.

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