Austin Tice's parents struggle to find answers about their missing son

Agence France-Presse

The parents of journalist Austin Tice are currently in Beirut, where they're hoping to find information about their 31-year-old son. Tice, a McClatchy and Washington Post freelancer, has been missing for 11 months in Syria -- a country that's been ranked the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.

Marc and Debra Tice. (AP Photo from November 2012/Bilal Hussein)

In a July 4 interview with Agence France-Presse, Debra and Marc Tice explain how difficult it's been waiting for answers and say they continue to hold onto hope.

"I just wake up and think, I woke up again and nothing has changed, it wasn't a dream," Debra told AFP. "I put my feet on the floor and I build a wall around my emotions and I just think about what strength I need for today."

Marc added: "Honestly, we're not that interested in who or why, we're interested in how do we get him back, what is needed to return him to us safely."

The Austin Tice website that his family set up says:

With the exception of a distressing 47 second video released in September, we have had no contact from Austin or his captors. We do not know with certainty who is holding him captive.

In the video, “Tice tries to recite the Muslim declaration of faith, or shahada, but then switches to English and says, "Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus" and rests his head on a captor’s arm," the Associated Press' Elizabeth A. Kennedy reported.

The video came out just a few months after Tice had posted a message on Facebook saying, "coming here to Syria is the greatest thing I've ever done."

We kill ourselves every day with McDonald’s and alcohol and a thousand other drugs, but we’ve lost the sense that there actually are things out there worth dying for. … So that’s why I came here to Syria, and it’s why I like being here now, right now, right in the middle of a brutal and still uncertain civil war. Every person in this country fighting for their freedom wakes up every day and goes to sleep every night with the knowledge that death could visit them at any moment. They accept that reality as the price of freedom.

A few weeks ago, senators urged the State Department to ramp up its efforts to find Tice and James Foley, a freelance journalist who has been missing in Syria since November.

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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