Family Statements

Statement from the Tice Family on Brittney Griner’s Release

December 8, 2022

This morning we were happy to hear the good news that Brittney Griner has been released by the Russian government, and is on her way home from the nightmare she has endured. Every time an American is released from captivity abroad it lifts our hearts in gladness for their family and loved ones. This is more evidence that where there is a will there’s a way for the United States to secure the safe release and return of its unjustly held citizens.

We know the path to Austin’s release starts with serious dialogue between the US and Syrian governments. We are extremely disappointed by the National Security Council’s failure to act on President Biden’s May 2nd directive to “meet with the Syrians, listen to them, find out what they want, and work with them (to get Austin Tice safely home).”  If the US government can work with Russia, there is no excuse for not directly engaging Syria. We renew our call to Jake Sullivan and his national security team to carry out the President’s orders. God willing, Austin will not spend another Christmas alone in captivity.

Debra and Marc Tice Statement on Meeting with President Biden

May 3, 2022

We eagerly accepted President Biden’s invitation for a meeting in the Oval Office. It was an uplifting meeting with substantive dialogue. In the presence of his senior staff, we had a frank and candid exchange of ideas. We were also honored to have some time alone with President Biden.

We asked President Biden to pursue sustained diplomatic engagement including transactional negotiation with the Syrian government for Austin’s safe return. This has been our request of the US and Syrian governments for more than eight years. We left this meeting with hope that there is renewed momentum for engagement.

Our discussion in the Oval Office took place in an atmosphere of confidence.

President Biden made significant, encouraging commitments for this effort.

For the love of our son we will not breach that confidence by sharing details.

We are anxious to see the President’s uplifting words put into action, confirming the assurance that Austin’s safe return is a priority for this administration.

With renewed vigor, we will continue to push for the diplomatic engagement and action necessary to see Austin walk free. May it be soon.


An open letter to President Biden from the parents of Austin Tice

Marc and Debra Tice (Tice Family)

Dear Mr. President,

August 14 is the date of our son’s abduction; this year it marks nine years of detention in Syria. President Biden, speaking for Austin, our entire family urges you to prioritize Austin’s secure release and safe return to us and to the country he loves.

We believe this can happen with your personal engagement and direct orders. In these early days of your administration, you have clearly messaged that family is at the core of your agenda. So we are asking you to express strong support, issue clear directions, and take meaningful action in a sincere effort to bring Austin safely home. We believe that if Austin were a member of your family, all the Bidens would rally around and come together to bring him home. On Austin’s behalf, because you are president of the country he honorably served as a Marine Corps officer, we are asking you for that kind of all-in effort. We believe you can do this. For Austin and our family, this is not too much to ask.

In 2012, Austin traveled to Syria to report on the uprising. He was delivering news and images of what he witnessed – working to explain the horrors of urban warfare. He worked for McClatchy News, winning a Polk Award for war reporting. He had several front-page stories in The Washington Post. His work was also carried by the Associated Press, NPR, CBS, BBC, Agence France-Presse and other outlets.

President Biden, you speak often and movingly of the significance of journalism and its value in a democratic society. Austin obviously shares these values with you and is paying a high price for doing this critically important work.

Your administration is uniquely positioned to help Austin. Your White House is staffed with seasoned professionals who know how to make a successful diplomatic approach for Austin. They know what can and must be done now, at this moment. They must build off the breakthroughs that were achieved by the previous administration; continuing direct engagement, relevant dialogue and significant action are crucial for Austin’s release. The time is now. Austin is waiting.

Mr. President, Austin needs you to step out and boldly lead. Please say our son’s name in public. Talk about Austin Tice; let people in Washington and Damascus know you are thinking of him. Put courage in their hearts to do the right thing. We have no doubt your family will support you, and our government will unite behind you.

We would welcome the opportunity for our family to meet with your family. We’d like to tell you more about Austin. A meeting of our loving families would send a strong message across our country and overseas. It would show that you have taken the lead and we are working on this together. Together, we can bring Austin safely home.


Debra and Marc Tice and all the Tice family

Parent’s Statement for Austin Tice’s 40th Birthday

August 10, 2021

Our son, Austin Tice, was working as a journalist in Syria when he was arrested near Damascus on August 14, 2012. Aside from a proof of life video a few weeks later, he has been held in secret and in silence.

This week, on August 11, our family will celebrate Austin’s 40th birthday. We will celebrate with heartfelt gratitude that such an exceptional man, who has such a big brave heart, was gifted to our family. Austin fills the room with energy and enthusiasm, we miss his contagious laugh. We miss being able to share our love with him.  As his parents, we will reflect on the overwhelming joy we felt when we first held him in our arms – arms which ache to hug him again.

Also this week, we will grieve and detest Austin’s detention day, August 14, nine long years ago.  Austin had just celebrated his 31st birthday three days before he was arrested. It is a piercing sense of loss to consider that Austin has spent almost all of his 30’s deprived of his liberty and the pursuit of his dreams.

Our love and grief combine to fuel our determination and create a sense of urgency as we continue working for his secure release and safe return.

At the very same time, we are deeply grateful that in these past nine years our lives have been blessed by amazing, steadfast people and organizations which are unwavering in their outpouring of kindness and support.

We are also intensely frustrated by the irresolute, on-again-off-again involvement of our government and its insufficient resolve to secure Austin’s release.

Nevertheless, we are resolute.  We are now imploring a third President of the United States to communicate to his administration that Austin’s secure release and safe return is a priority. There are many capable people working in our government who are eager to see Austin walk free; they must have President Biden’s authorization for significant and relevant diplomatic engagement with the Syrian government.

As with the past nine years, we continue to plead for the American and the Syrian governments to sincerely engage in a serious dialogue focused on Austin’s secure release and safe return.

We will pray, wait, and work to see Austin walk free. May it be soon.

Marc and Debra Tice

~ Faith ~ Hope ~ Love ~

November 21, 2020

Debra Tice, Mother of Journalist Austin Tice, Statement On Fox & Friends

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 – Today Debra Tice, the mother of Austin Tice, a journalist and Marine veteran being held in Syria appeared on the highly rated television program Fox & Friends and made the following statement in response to questions.

“We are closer than we have ever been to having Austin safely home. We are tremendously grateful for President Trump’s commitment to bring Austin home; he has both the will and the ability to get this done.

Mr. President, as Commander in Chief we need you to step in and issue a direct order to your staff to maximize the effort and take the necessary steps to make this happen. Hopefully your people have told you what it takes. They tell me they need your orders.

We know you care deeply about Austin. We know you can get this done. We need you to oversee this until Austin is on the way home.

President Trump has one of the strongest records on bringing American hostages home. He has made a commitment to work hard to get Austin home. It is not too late to keep that commitment to Austin.”

Former Marine Captain Tice was working as a freelance journalist when he was abducted in Syria in 2012. More information can be found at Austin’s work in Syria was recognized with a George Polk Award. He is a 2015 recipient of the National Press Club’s John Aubuchon Award for Press Freedom.

October 26, 2020

Bring Austin Home for Thanksgiving

The following is a statement from Debra Tice, the mother of journalist and Maine veteran Austin Tice, responding to Secretary Mike Pompeo’s press briefing of Wednesday 21 October.

Our family was elated to read in the Wall Street Journal that President Trump recently sent Kash Patel, a top White House aide, to Damascus, Syria, to begin the first real dialogue with the Syrian government in almost a decade. This has always been an essential component of securing the safe release of our son, Austin Tice, who has been detained in Syria since August 2012.

We are thrilled the President took this step. President Trump has had historic success in bringing home U.S. hostages. He is an advocate and an ally to families like ours.

Unfortunately for Austin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is undermining the President’s crucial outreach, refusing any form of direct diplomatic engagement with the Syrian government. During his press briefing on October 21st, he stood before the State Department press corps and said, in essence, there is nothing he is willing to do to bring my son home. This is in stark contrast to President Trump’s statement, “We stand with the Tice family and will not rest until we bring Austin home.”

President Trump is committed to seeing Austin walk free, whereas Secretary Pompeo is willing to accept his continued detention.

With the Damascus visit, the Syrian government has opened the door for dialogue toward Austin’s release. They have offered to do what President Trump so publicly asked back in March, “work with us” to bring Austin safely home. This opportunity should be enthusiastically engaged as a giant step toward not only the safe return of my son Austin, but also toward an end of strife in Syria, and the beginning of relief for the Syrian people.

Our President can and should insist upon continuing the dialogue with the Syrian government. This directive is fully in line with his desire to secure Austin’s safe release, to exit “endless wars” and to promote American interests.

People who agree about nothing else agree Austin’s captivity has gone on for too long and it is past time to secure his safe return.

Eight years. Austin is waiting, wanting to come home. Our family is waiting with open arms. His friends are waiting for a joyful homecoming celebration. People across America and around the world are waiting to see Austin walk free. We urge President Trump to override every obstacle and move forward on his commitment to bring Austin safely home.

Our family and so many others will be truly grateful to welcome Austin home for Thanksgiving.

October 19, 2020

Regarding Reports of US/Syria Meeting in Damascus

For years we have pushed for engagement between the US and Syrian governments to help bring our son safely home, so we hope recent reports are accurate. We are deeply grateful to everyone working for Austin’s safe return, and his continued absence shows there is more to be done.
Marc and Debra Tice
September 25, 2020

Bring my journalist brother home by Thanksgiving

My brother Austin asked me to go to Syria with him. Just months later, he was taken.

Jacob Tice

I was at the beach with my family when my brother Austin called. His schedule at Georgetown Law School had prevented him from joining us. I slipped into an empty room at the little house we were renting and listened, astonished, as he told me he was planning a trip to Syria that summer of 2012, and he was asking me to come with him.

To this day I’m not sure why he asked me. We had been on some adventures together, to Glacier National Park, and in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where I have made my home, but nothing approaching these stakes. Maybe he believed that I was up for it, that I had the same adventurous spirit burning in him, and that I would leap at the chance, fresh out of college with vague plans for the future, to help him change the world.

I turned him down. I couldn’t imagine myself in those circumstances, untrained, lacking the war zone experience he had as a Marine Corps veteran with three tours behind him. I encouraged him to follow his heart, to bear witness to the escalating conflict in Syria. I believed in his vision, admired his grit and was behind him completely. He left in May.

On Aug. 14, 2012, at a checkpoint outside Damascus, he disappeared.

My family has lost eight years …

That was 2,974 days ago. I have not heard from my brother since. No one has claimed responsibility for his detention. Every single one of those days, and every day, my family wakes up hoping, praying, that this will be the last day of his captivity.

Jacob, left, and Austin Tice, at Glacier National Park in Montana.

I think of that call when I read about Austin now, and how easily my name could have been next to his. I think of what he has endured in captivity and of what he has missed — all the birthdays, weddings and births, Thanksgivings and Christmases, that my family and I have celebrated without him. In dark moments I wonder whether maybe, maybe, I could have been the difference. Maybe I would’ve said, “We shouldn’t get into this car,” maybe the hairs on the back of my neck would’ve stood up at the offer, and we would have gone another way. Maybe he wouldn’t have stayed so long had he felt responsible for keeping me, his scrawny, inexperienced, intellectualized little brother, safe.

I don’t dwell on those thoughts, but they have persisted. They grew beneath the slow realization that this would not be resolved quickly, that he wouldn’t be home in days, or weeks. Beneath the pride of every award he has received and every column calling for his return, they persist. The thought of what he has endured in eight years is made fresh in each one; I cannot avoid it. I could have been there.

… Don’t let us lose a ninth

No president in our history has been more personally committed than President Donald Trump to bringing home American citizens held abroad. Our president has made it clear, time and again: The return of Americans is a deeply personal priority for him. It was from him, this March, that America first heard Austin’s name said aloud by a president. My heart leapt that day. My family appreciates the powerful effort this administration is exerting to bring him home. We have felt the progress, centimeter by excruciating centimeter.

Now, as we approach a ninth holiday season with an empty seat at our family’s Thanksgiving, a ninth Christmas spent wondering whether Austin can see the stars, my brothers and sisters and I implore you from the depths of our hearts: Please help.

We beg you to reach out to your representatives in Congress. Tell them the story of the brother we love. Tell them it is a priority to see Austin’s safest and soonest return. Tell them to use their power to urge the president to restore Austin to our Thanksgiving table. Every second he stays in captivity cuts a deeper wound in the hearts of my family, and we can wait no longer. Help us make this summer the last he spends alone, and give 2020 a spark of brightness we so desperately need.

Join the campaign. Ask about Austin Tice. Bring him home.

Jacob Tice

Jacob Tice is the middle son of seven siblings. You can learn more about Austin at

March 19, 2020

On President Trump’s Remarks

We are tremendously grateful for the tireless work President Trump is doing to bring Austin safely home. His efforts for our son are unmatched and his support and commitment mean the world to us. The President has our deepest appreciation.

Robert O’Brien has also been by our side since he stepped into his role as Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. As National Security Advisor, he continues to be a tireless advocate for Austin and all Americans being held around the globe.

We are also profoundly grateful for all the love and support we have from Team Tice, you know who you are. Let’s get him home.

At this very disturbing time for our nation and the world, it is more important than ever to get Austin safely home. As President Trump did, we ask the Syrian government to do all they can to locate and safely return Austin to our family. May it be soon!

January 27, 2020

Debra Tice Statement at the National Press Club

I want to give you an update on current efforts. As many of you know, I went to Syria in 2014 and in 2015 to do whatever I could think of to free Austin. In 2012, Austin spent 83 days on the ground reporting from Syria. Coincidentally, in 2014, I spent 83 days in Damascus, searching for information about Austin. Not only was I asking on the street, reaching out to the International Red Cross/Red Crescent and the Syrian Red Crescent, and meeting with the ambassadors to Syria from the Vatican, the Czech Republic, and others, I was also contacting officials of the Syrian government, asking for meetings to plead for help. I was reaching out every day. I did have some meetings, but others were far more difficult.

Finally, after six weeks of what I call my mosquito method – of reaching out every day, six weeks of daily phone calls – I was given a message from a highly placed Syrian official. This is a quote: “I will not meet with the mother. Send a United States government official of appropriate title.”

Since that day, in March of 2014, almost six years ago, when Marc and I shared that message with the United States government, it is the only thing we have been asking on Austin’s behalf – a meeting. Direct engagement with those best positioned to secure Austin’s safe release.

We have no capacity for understanding why this request has not been met. Almost six years ago, the Syrian government opened the door for a discussion. We believe this is quite possibly the simplest request that could be made in Austin’s situation. We’ve been making this ask on behalf of Austin through all the proper channels of two administrations. Obviously, Barack Obama was unsuccessful.

We know things are very different with the current administration. President Trump is committed to bringing Americans home and has proven that commitment through action. We know that commitment extends to our son, your colleague, Austin. The President has directed his team to make it happen. We know with certainty there are those in his administration who are working to make this essential meeting happen.

Apparently, somewhere in the chain, there is a senior US government official who is hesitating or stalling. There is no possible way for me to understand why anyone would defy the President’s will and choose to leave our beloved son, who put his life on the line serving this country three tours as a Marine Corps officer. Why would they choose to leave him waiting in captivity instead of taking the necessary steps to get this critical discussion under way.

I strongly believe this engagement can happen very soon. President Trump will be giving the State of the Union address next Tuesday, February 4th. It would be great good news for the President to be able to announce the safe release of Austin Tice. I am reasonably hopeful this can happen.

With many thanks to the National Press Club and the Press Club Institute, last year was a big year for Austin. In May, the Night Out For Austin followed in September with the Ask About Austin Tice campaign on Capitol Hill, helped create sustained momentum.

Your work makes a difference for Austin. Ask about him. Keep at it. Be relentless.

In November, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service created a great deal of positive outreach for Austin when they awarded him one of only three Centennial Honors for service to others.

From phone calls and meetings with our government team, I know there has been progress.
We must push through whatever is holding us back and meet this reasonable ask.

Austin is waiting. We are ready. The time is now.

August 11, 2019

We Invite You to Celebrate Austin’s Birthday

Thirty-eight years ago today, after nine months of waiting, we finally had the great delight of meeting our firstborn, Austin Bennett Tice.

Today, we wish we could remind him of how glad we are he was born, how blessed we are to be his parents, how truly we believe the world is a better place for having him in it.

But we can’t do that; Austin is detained in Syria. We are not allowed any contact with him.
Today is his 2554th day of detention.

Austin went to Syria in 2012. As a freelance journalist, he was there to cover the escalating conflict and raise awareness of the horrible consequences of urban warfare, especially for children.

His 31st birthday was the last time we were able to share the joy of this special date with him – singing the “birthday song” over the internet, reminiscing about the past year and sharing dreams for the year ahead.

Three days later, on August 14, 2012, Austin was detained at a checkpoint near Damascus.
He has been held in secret and in silence for almost seven years.

Today, we are wistfully thinking of all the ways we wish we could celebrate with him.
We are fondly remembering wonderful birthday celebrations of the past – delightful summer gatherings of family and friends which included imaginative cakes, party games, and, of course, thoughtful gifts.

There are so many things we would love to do to celebrate with Austin today, but the birthday candles and games and gifts will have to wait until he comes home.

Until then, we will continue to faithfully pray and relentlessly work to bring our son safely home.

Today, we are celebrating by announcing the launch of the “Ask About Austin” campaign.

We invite you to join us in urging the White House and the State Department to continue to use every diplomatic means available to secure Austin’s safest and soonest return.

We ask you to help make our birthday wish for Austin come true:

Go to to send messages to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and your members of Congress. Add your signature to a petition to the U.S. Government asking that all available diplomatic means be used to bring Austin safely home.

If you are in the Washington DC metro area, please sign up to volunteer on September 23, when we plan to canvass Capitol Hill to raise awareness for Austin and make sure every member of Congress knows about the upcoming two-day exhibit of Austin’s photos from Syria, beginning September 30 in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Invite your family, your friends, and your colleagues to join us in celebrating Austin by bringing him safely home.

July 28, 2019

Release of Sam Goodwin

We rejoice at the news of Sam Goodwin’s release and safe return from Syria. We pray with thanksgiving for God’s mercy and grace. Our family remains hopeful as we continue to pray and work to bring our son Austin safely home. May it be soon.

February 4, 2019

Washington Post Super Bowl LIII Commercial

We were deeply moved by the memorable Washington Post Super Bowl LIII ad; it was impressive – the message is strong and important.  The placement of the ad, during the most exciting moments of the game, was providential.

We are grateful to The Washington Post for their decision to include our son Austin Tice. It was an honor to be part of the hectic process of creating such a powerful message in less than one week.

We hope the vast audience will amplify the call for Austin’s safe release.

We faithfully pray we will soon see Austin walking free again.


December 4, 2018

Press Conference Remarks – Marc and Debra Tice

Lebanon Press Club, Beirut, Lebanon

We want to thank the Press Club for hosting us. Also, we sincerely appreciate everything Ayman Mhanna has done to pull this event together.

Thank you all for being here, thank you for continuing to cover the news of our son’s captivity.

I would like to remind you of who Austin is:

Austin is the eldest of our seven children. He is a big guy with a big personality and a big heart. He loves being the big brother to all of his siblings – they miss him in so many ways. Austin is an avid reader and always had a keen interest in World History. When he was still quite young, his desire to know about the world grew into a passion for news of current events. He grew up listening to world news on the radio and reading global news publications. He always dreamed of being an international correspondent.

As his curiosity and knowledge of the world expanded, his desire to better understand global issues grew into a sense of duty wrapped in a heart of compassion.

He first learned to lead through service to others as he became an Eagle Scout. Later, he gained a deeper understanding of international politics as he graduated through Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. His sense of duty compelled him to enlist with the United States Marine Corps, where he became an esteemed Captain.

Most recently, in the summer before his final year of law school, all of his interests, and his passion, and his experience coalesced into a call to bear witness in Syria.

Austin began reporting from Syria in May 2012.

On the 14th of August in 2012, on a Tuesday, 329 weeks ago, Austin was detained at a checkpoint near Damascus. He remains captive in Syria, now six years, three months and three weeks.

This is our eighth trip to Beirut, our first press conference was here, in this room, 6 years ago.

We are here again to continue to raise awareness of Austin’s detention and to advocate for his safe release.

Freedom of expression and access to accurate information are fundamental human rights, regardless of frontiers. Even so, today we find that journalists worldwide are in greater danger than ever before.

Austin went to Syria as a photojournalist. It is said that one picture is worth a thousand words. Austin wanted people to see how armed conflict, particularly in an urban environment, affects the innocent, especially children. Soon after his first photos were published, he was writing articles to explain his pictures and describe what he was seeing.

Austin was honoured for his journalistic skills with the McClatchy President’s Award, a George Polk Award, and other significant recognitions.

We believe Austin is detained because of his work as a journalist.

Austin did not disappear into thin air. He was detained at a checkpoint – there are witnesses. Through these long years, we have periodically been told by reliable sources that Austin is alive and is being properly cared for. On November 13, Special Presidential Envoy Robert O’Brien emphatically stated that the United States government believes Austin Tice is alive and is being held in Syria. Additionally, we have recently been contacted directly by a number of credible individuals, who have shared information about Austin.

Earlier this year the FBI offered a reward of up to one million dollars for information that leads to Austin’s safe return. Recently, a coalition of media and other organizations in the United States announced plans to match the FBI offer.

We are appealing to anyone with information about our son to share it NOW – 6 years is much too long to keep this secret.

We are asking you, all of you, as Austin’s colleagues, to join us in continuing to raise awareness of Austin’s detention as we continue to work for his safe release. We implore you, in the course of your work – ask about Austin and create opportunities to draw attention to the urgency of securing Austin’s safe return.

As you all know, there is no way to prepare for being the parents of a captive – there is no instruction manual.

From the very first day, we have been doing everything we can think of to bring our son home. We have learned more than we ever wanted to know about how governments work – and how they do not work. We have made mistakes and missed opportunities, which we deeply regret. Nevertheless, we continue with faith and determination to see our son walk free – to hold him joyfully in our arms again.

We have met with two United States Presidents, 3 Secretaries of State and a parade of other officials. In 2014, Debra lived in Damascus for over 3 months. She returned in 2015 for two weeks; she was asking for help to find and free our son, willing to meet with anyone who was willing to listen. This year, we have spent more time in Washington, DC than ever before – pushing our government, meeting with advisors, seeking help from non-governmental organizations and individuals. We were in New York City at the opening of the General Assembly.

Now, we are here again in Beirut, hoping to go to Damascus, asking you to amplify our call for help, and meeting with officials and other contacts. We have applied for visas to Syria, so we can continue to appeal to Damascus as we have to Washington, DC that every effort be made to locate Austin and secure his safe release.

Because Austin is an American and because he is detained in Syria, we urge both the United States government and the Syrian government to work together to resolve this humanitarian issue.

No one is benefitting from Austin’s continued detention. Austin’s release will satisfy not only the longing of our family, but will also create international goodwill.

Both governments have assured us they will do all they can to secure Austin’s safe release. We call on them – now more than ever – to honor that commitment. Bring our son home.

This is the seventh holiday season of Austin’s detention. We miss him MORE, never less, with each passing day. Our family has changed and grown. We are intensely aware there is suffering all across the Levant. We still feel the pain of the empty chair at every family gathering – every event Austin has missed. We pray and hope there will soon be an end to violence, restoration of families, and the beginning of healing.

We will continue to faithfully pray and relentlessly work for Austin’s safe return.

May we soon see Austin walk free.

Thank you.

April 20, 2018

Tice Family Statement on Reward for Information

Statement from the Tice Family:

We are heartened by the recent United States Government posting of a reward for information leading directly to the safe return of our son, Austin.  As far as we know, the timing of this reward is unrelated to any specific event; rather, it is prompted by the length of Austin’s detention and the Syrian government’s lack of information concerning Austin’s disappearance.

We deeply appreciate every increased effort to hasten the day that we see our son safely home.  Austin has been living in captivity for more than five years and eight months. If anyone has information which might restore Austin’s freedom and reunite our family, we urge them to share it.


Austin was kidnapped in Damascus, Syria on August 14, 2012 while working as a freelance journalist and photographer for a variety of news organizations including CBS, The Washington Post, and The McClatchy Company. Austin was kidnapped while reporting in Daraya, a Damascus suburb.

The United States Government is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading directly to the safe location, recovery, and return of Austin. If you have any information concerning Austin Tice, please contact the FBI Tip Line at or You can also contact your local FBI office, or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

July 20, 2017

Family Statement for Beirut Press Conference

Our beloved eldest son, Austin Tice, an award-winning freelance journalist, has been held captive in Syria since 14 August 2012.
Austin was taken captive three days after his 31st birthday. We can only imagine the things he was dreaming of doing – what he might have accomplished, enjoyed, and experienced during these five important years of his early thirties, including his graduation from law school.
During these nearly five years his family has been keenly aware of his empty chair, sorely missing his big hugs and wonderful laugh. In addition to so many birthdays and holidays, he was absent from the weddings of two of his sisters, and as a doting uncle he has yet to meet their two beautiful new babies.
We continue to do everything we can think of to find information about where our son is and what is required to bring him safely home.  We are willing to engage with any government, group, or individual who can help us in our efforts to secure Austin’s safe release.
Because Austin is an American being held captive in Syria, we especially call on the United States and the Syrian governments to locate Austin, protect him, and secure his safe return. In this effort, we have made numerous trips to Washington DC and Debra has spent extended time in Damascus.
A proof of life video was posted on YouTube just six weeks after Austin went missing.  We now realize the response to that video was not appropriate. We plead with those holding Austin to reach out again and give us the opportunity to meaningfully engage with them toward Austin’s safe return.
We are often asked what people can do to help. Above all, we appreciate continued prayers for Austin and for our family. We encourage everyone to help raise our voice in asking for Austin’s freedom. We ask to be given any information about Austin which may help secure his safe return.
In anticipation of Austin’s 36th birthday on 11 August, and with fervent hope that he will be home soon, we invite you to send Austin a birthday greeting by email or by post.
Post:   Happy Birthday Austin Tice
            5090 Richmond Ave.  #31
            Houston, TX  77056
For more information about Austin and our efforts:
Facebook: Free Austin Tice NOW
July 20, 2017

Prepared Remarks for Beirut Press Conference

Marc >> First of all, we would like to thank Youssef Howayek for hosting us here at the Beirut Press Club.
Debra >> We also thank Ayman Mhanna for being here on behalf of the SKeyes Center and Alexandra El Khazen for coming here from Paris on behalf of Reporters Without Borders.
We sincerely appreciate their steadfast support over the past almost five years of working to locate and secure the safe release of our cherished son, freelance journalist Austin Tice.
Marc >> We thank you all for being here today and continuing to seek information about our son Austin Tice. Your work and your support are vital to our efforts.
Debra >> This is our third press conference in Beirut. The reason we are here again today is because almost five years ago, 3 days after his 31st birthday, on August 14, 2012, our beloved Austin was taken captive in Syria. We have had no contact at all with him.
Five years is a very long time for any parent to be missing their child.
We are profoundly aware that many other families in this region are enduring this same agony of missing a loved one. We have counted every moment of every one of these 1802 days since we last heard from Austin. We are always saddened by his absence from family gatherings, especially birthdays and holidays. We desperately want him to come home.
Marc >> When he was taken, Austin was working as a freelance journalist. When any journalist is silenced, we are all blindfolded.  Freedom of information is a basic human right.
We have every reason to believe Austin is alive and is being held captive in Syria.
We continue to do everything we can think of to find information about where our son is and what must be done to bring him safely home.
We are willing to engage with any government, any group, or any person who can help us in our effort to secure his safe release.
Debra >> In addition to several trips to Beirut, over these past almost five years, we have made numerous trips to Washington, DC and I have spent extended time in Damascus as part of our effort to make contact with people who can help us and with anyone who might have information about Austin.
Marc >> Because Austin is an American being held captive in Syria we continue to ask that the United States government and the Syrian government make every reasonable effort to locate Austin and secure his safe release. Both of these governments have assured us that they are doing this, but the only proof of that commitment will be Austin’s safe return.
Even so, we do not dare rely solely on government efforts. We are open to pursuing any channel, any opportunity which will bring our cherished son safely home. And so, we continue to seek the help of any group or any person who has the ability to help Austin.
Debra >> Six weeks after Austin went missing in 2012, a proof of life video was posted on YouTube. The title of that video was “Austin Tice is Alive”.  We now realize that the response to that video was not appropriate. No one, including us, asked about a next step to engage toward Austin’s release. Realizing this horrible mistake, we now plead with those holding Austin to reach out to us again and give us another chance to communicate. Our website, has our contact information. We want our son safely home.
Marc >> Every single day we hope to get that call from Austin telling us he is on his way home. August 11 is Austin’s 36th birthday.  We invite everyone to send Austin a birthday greeting, via email or post. We can hardly wait to give them to Austin when he returns.
E-cards and greetings may be sent to:
Cards and letters can be mailed to:
Happy Birthday Austin Tice
5090 Richmond Avenue #31
Houston, Texas 77056; USA
Debra >> Thank you again for being here today. Thank you for sharing this message.
Stay well. Stay safe. Do good work. We wish you all the best.

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April 09, 2016

On the Release of Kevin Dawes

We are very happy for the Dawes family with the news of Kevin’s safe release and we can only imagine the relief he and his loved ones must be experiencing.

We sincerely hope Kevin’s release is a precursor of Austin’s imminent freedom.

The collaboration of Syria, Russia and the United States in Kevin’s return is quite heartening to us. We pray this is a sign that the release of detainees sought by UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura will become a reality, and that many, many more families will soon rejoice in the safe return of their loved ones.

August 14, 2015

Three Years

To everyone who has expressed their support, their hope and their desire that Austin be released from captivity soon, and returned safely to all those who love and miss him,
Thank You
Your tweets, emails, messages, posts, pictures, comments, articles, cards, letters, petition signatures and calls touch our hearts profoundly.  They lift us up, especially at this difficult moment.  And surely, their resonating message must also reach and lift Austin’s heart, as he endures another terrible anniversary without freedom.
We humbly ask you continue to think of, pray for and ask others to add their voices to bring Austin safely home.


Thank you to the National Press Club
for honoring Austin with the 2015 John Aubuchon
Freedom of the Press Award

May Austin and the other recipients, Jason Rezaian and Khadija Ismayilova, be freed soon to enjoy this recognitio

June 24, 2015

Family Statement on new United States Hostage Policy

After six months of what we believe to be a sincere and dedicated effort to update and clearly define US hostage policy, we are cautiously optimistic that the Executive Order signed by the President is a significant beginning towards effectively bringing our son Austin and other American hostages safely home. We hope this policy will instill in our government a clear focus on the soonest, safe return of all current and future hostages.

We continue to have concerns about several issues, including the leadership structure described in the policy, and the lack of specific mention of the protection of the identity and assets of hostages.

Nevertheless, we think this is a strong start, and we appreciate the President’s commitment to periodically reviewing and improving this policy.

Our family will be delighted when we hold Austin in our arms as proof of the effectiveness of this new policy.

May 19, 2015

Press Conference, Beirut, Lebanon

Opening remarks by Debra Tice

Thank you all very much for coming here today. Special thanks to SKeyes and Reporters without Borders for coordinating this event.

Austin was in Syria because he believes freedom of information and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights. At a time when few western journalists were reporting from the region, it was important to him that the world hear both sides of the story and know as much as possible about the effect of the conflict on civilians – especially children and families.

We realize there is unbelievable misery all across the Levant and that my family’s anguish is only a drop in that horrific sea of human suffering. Our hearts are joined with those who are experiencing this terrible pain and loss.
So, only as a mother, I am here asking for information and for help to find my son and bring him safely home.

We know Austin is not being held by any part of the opposition. Still, after all these 1009 days, we do not know where he is nor who IS holding him. Someone, someone possibly near this place, knows something about my son and his whereabouts. I plead with anyone who knows anything at all about Austin to find a way to contact us with that information: we have a website and facebook page, or through SKeyes or Reporters without Borders.

We have every reason to believe Austin is alive. As recently as a few weeks ago, and a number of times over the past 33 months credible sources have told us Austin is alive. We are grateful to his captors for keeping him well and safe.

Can my son be allowed these days to communicate with me – by phone while I am in Beirut?

Are the holders of my son ready to meet face to face – with “One” individual (alone) and let him meet with my son, a friend of the family, and known by some Shiite leaders in Lebanon and beyond over years?

Finally, an update on what our government is doing for Austin.
For more than two and a half years, we have been urging our government to directly engage with the Syrian government to find our son and secure his safe release. We base this request on the fact that Austin went missing in Syria and the sovereign government should have the resources to search for him and to persuade his captors to release him.

Recently, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying they are in “periodic direct contact” with the Syrian government regarding consular affairs, including Austin’s situation. We think this is a good start. We are glad that the two governments are communicating directly, but more is needed! – communication must be regular and consistent.
We ask for a collaborative effort. Both the United States and the Syrian governments have told us they will do all they can to locate and safely return Austin to us.
Because Austin is an American and because he is alive in Syria, we implore both governments to act on this commitment until we have the ONLY measure of success – Austin’s safe release.

I long to hold my son in my arms. I want my family to be whole again.

Thank you.

May 12, 2015

1000 Days

Our son, Austin Tice, was working as a journalist near Damascus, in Syria, when he was taken captive on Tuesday, 14 August, 2012.  We can hardly bear to realize Austin has now been disconnected from us for more than ONE THOUSAND DAYS.  Each of those days has a story: of family and friends, of politics and pop culture and world events, joys and griefs which should have been shared with Austin. Instead, every day has been another day of searching and longing for his return so we can make our family whole again. We have desperately missed Austin for over 1,440,000 minutes – each new minute fuels our resolve to find him and bring him safely home.

We are so grateful for the generous and selfless support of many organizations and individuals. Thanks to the #FreeAustinTice campaign, more people learn about and express support for Austin every day.  We are thankful to everyone who is participating in the campaign, and to all those who have supported us and Austin with your thoughts and prayers. Please, please continue to share Austin’s story and ask others to add their voices to our plea for Austin’s safe return.

We continue to urge President Obama to do all he can to bring Austin home safely and soon. We remind the Syrian government they have assured us they will work to locate Austin and secure his safe release.  And we ask anyone with information about Austin’s whereabouts, or who can help with the safe return of our son to please contact us at

Marc and Debra Tice

March 26, 2015

From the beginning of this ordeal we have asked that the United States and Syrian governments do all they can to locate and safely return Austin to our family.  While we are disappointed that Austin has not been seen, we are encouraged by the ongoing discussions between the US and Syria.  We hope and pray that their efforts will soon be successful in locating and safely returning Austin. 

March 25, 2015

The release of any hostage is a blessing, and a great joy to their family and friends.  We sincerely hope everything possible is being done for the safe return of our son, and, as ever, we hope to see Austin safely home as soon as possible.  Any questions about the US State Department’s work in the region should be directed to them.

December 12, 2014

The Washington Post

Debra and Marc Tice: Involve families in U.S. government’s hostage policy review

Journalist Austin Tice, who has contributed to The Washington Post and is currently unaccounted for in Syria. (Courtesy of Tice family)
By Debra Tice and Marc Tice December 12

Debra and Marc Tice live in Houston.

As the parents of an international hostage, our hearts are broken again by the tragic news of the death of Luke Somers in Yemen. This month’s failed rescue attempt once more brought into intense focus the need for the U.S. government to involve families in its policies and procedures for responding when Americans are taken hostage .

On Aug. 14, 2012, when our son Austin Tice was taken captive in Syria while reporting on the conflict there, our lives were turned inside out. The oft-repeated cliche is “there is no handbook” for what we are going through. That hardly begins to express the challenges we face. In reality, no government policy and no established support network exist to help families navigate the many questions suddenly requiring an answer: questions regarding interaction with the government; questions about protecting Austin’s identity and assets; questions of managing a relationship with the media; questions about preserving some semblance of normal life for our family. All of these pale in significance to the biggest question of all: What can and should we do to get Austin safely home as soon as possible?

Last month, the White House ordered a review of the U.S. government’s hostage policy. Many issues need to be addressed as part of this review. Former captives and families of hostages, along with the government entities responsible for bringing captive Americans safely home, must be involved in this discussion.

As part of this process, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence should be ordered to coordinate efforts among all the agencies involved — both to improve inter-agency information-sharing and to avoid ­redundancy.

Currently, according to the Web site, “Seventeen separate organizations unite to form the Intelligence Community. Each member agency operates under its own directive.” Each agency has a defined mission that prioritizes its objective.

As it relates to hostages, the work of these agencies must be aligned with a single primary objective: the safe return of American citizens held overseas.

Before leaving for Syria, Austin was living as an independent adult, with all the usual responsibilities and obligations. Over the more than 850 days that he has been held captive, we have learned that no policy safeguards the identity, assets and obligations of our missing son. We face often insurmountable obstacles as we struggle to protect his online identity, secure his bank accounts, freeze his debts and in other ways try to ensure that he has a life to come home to. A comprehensive hostage policy should include a method for suspending a hostage’s obligations, such as rent, loans and insurance, as well as for preserving a phone number.

In this digital age, it should also be possible for elements of a hostage’s online identity, including social media and e-mail, to be appropriately accessed and managed. There should be an immediate, comprehensive evaluation of any vulnerable assets, such as bank and credit card accounts. If these assets are not frozen, they must be appropriately monitored for any malicious activity. A clear and efficient mechanism needs to be in place to ensure that any stolen assets are returned or reimbursed to the hostage.

Austin did not provide us with access to his online accounts. However, government agencies using subpoenas have been able to mine them for clues. Officials often refuse to share what they find with us; moreover, we cannot even be certain it is shared among relevant agencies. The information may just be stored away in a file somewhere.

When the family of a U.S. citizen becomes involved in an international hostage crisis, the many necessary decisions can be overwhelming. Some are immediate, while others unfold as the days become weeks, then months and sometimes years. Because each case is unique, truly there can be no “handbook.” However, there can and should be frequently updated guidelines covering things to consider, as well as an informed government liaison to provide support and advice. If ransom becomes an issue, families should be included in an honest discussion of the options. There is no simple answer that can be applied to every hostage scenario.

Each family should be free to choose the level of involvement with which it is comfortable. When security clearances are required to be able to clearly communicate timely and accurate information with the family, our government should stand ready to facilitate the necessary vetting.

Appropriately vetted family members can be an essential and critical part of the team, especially since they are likely to be the ones contacted by those with information about the captive. Additionally, they may be the only team members whose clear and singular objective is the safe return of their loved one.

These issues are likely to affect every international captive and need to be discussed and addressed in any serious policy review. To be fully credible and complete, the current policy review must include former captives and families of hostages together with the government entities charged with bringing hostages safely home.

August 14, 2014


Seven Hundred Thirty Days of Silence

It has been two years since our son, freelance journalist Austin Tice, was taken captive near Damascus, Syria where he was reporting for McClatchy News, the Washington Post, CBS and others.  We have had no contact from Austin or his captors; we still do not know where he is or who is holding him.

Austin put his education at Georgetown Law School on hold, first to fulfill his sense of duty to serve his country, and again to pursue his calling as a journalist.  Austin is proud to be the eldest brother, an uncle, an Eagle Scout, a Georgetown University graduate, a Marine Corps veteran, and a widely published freelancer.  He respects loyalty, discipline, ambition, courage, and commitment.  With his absence, a huge chunk of our life is missing.  As his parents, we cannot give ourselves fully to the present because we remain suspended in the day Austin went missing, a day which is now 17,520 hours long. 

As we relentlessly pray and work for Austin, we are continually unsettled by disturbing questions about his welfare.  What does he eat?  Does he see the sky?  Is he alone?  What challenges is he facing day-to-day?  Does he know we are looking for him?  How does he mark the time; does he know two years have passed?    In those two years, along with the significant dates on the calendar and the once-in-a-lifetime events dampened by Austin’s absence, there are also the small daily moments – joys, challenges, blunders and blessings – which have not been shared and cannot be relived.

We do not want Austin to be forgotten.  We fervently pray for him.  We continue to do everything we think of to bring our son safely home.  We sincerely appreciate each person who has helped and supported us.  Words cannot fully express the depth of our gratitude for every bit of every kind of help we have received.  Please keep thinking of Austin, please keep searching, and please keep praying for his well-being and safe return. 

To those holding Austin, we ask you to treat our son well and return him to us safely and soon.  Austin is a man of good character, and his effort to tell the world about what is happening in Syria – from all perspectives – is honorable.  We will not give up; we want to see our son safely home.  May it be soon, according to God’s will.

Marc and Debra Tice

June 9, 2014

We hope the amnesty President al-Assad announced today will lead to the reunion of many families with their loved ones, and we pray it will encourage Austin’s captor’s to quickly and safely release Austin so our family, too, may be reunited.   

President al-Assad grants general amnesty on crimes committed before June 9th, 2014 

Jun 09, 2014

Damascus, (SANA) President Bashar al-Assad issued Monday Legislative Decree no. 22 for 2014 granting a general amnesty for crimes committed before June 9, 2014.

The amnesty commutes sentences with more lenient ones, including commuting the death sentence to life penal labor, life penal labor to 20 years of penal labor, and life in prison to 20 years in prison.

The amnesty also commutes the entire duration of the sentence for convicts with incurable terminal illness, convicts who are 70 or above, and for convicts of several crimes and misdemeanors, including abduction if the abductor frees the victim safely without taking ransom or delivers the victim to the authorities within a month of issuing this decree.

The decree also grants amnesty for foreigners who entered Syria with the purpose of joining a terrorist group or committing a terrorist act if they turn themselves in to the authorities within a month of issuing this decree.

Deserters are also granted full amnesty, both those who are inside Syria and abroad and who are not fugitives from justice. Fugitives wanted for other crimes can also benefit from the amnesty if they turn themselves in within three months.

The amnesty does not affect convictions from personal lawsuits which remain under the jurisdiction of courts and the individuals or sides who files the lawsuits.

March 6, 2014

It has been more than one year and a half since we last had contact with Austin.  The passage of time sharpens our pain and strengthens our resolve.  We continue to seek support to find and bring Austin safely home, and we continuously give thanks for everyone who has and is helping us make his return a reality.  Our prayers go out to everyone whose lives have been impacted by events in Syria and the region, we know there is pain far beyond our own.  Still we hold out hope – not only for Austin, but for all.  May peace prevail.

Marc and Debra Tice and Family

مارس/آذار 2014

سنةٌ ونصف السنة مضت حتى الآن على آخر اتصال لنا مع أوستن. مرور الزمن يزيد من آلامنا ويقوّي عزيمتنا. سنبقى نناشد العالم لمساعدتنا في البحث عنه وتأمين عودته. نحن نصلي دائماً من أجل كل الناس الذين تأثروا بشكل أو بآخر بالأحداث التي تجري في سورية وفي المنطقة، ونعلم تماماً أن هناك أناساً تزيد آلامهم عن آلامنا. مع كل ذلك، فنحن لن نفقد الأمل، ليس فقط بعودة أوستن، إنما بأن يعمّ السلام جميع الناس.

August 14, 2013

365 Days

It has been 365 days since we last heard from our precious son, beloved brother, adored uncle, and faithful friend, Austin.

None of us want to place special significance on this date because we know that every one of those days has been unimaginably challenging for Austin. The most tolerable aspect of this day is that it means we are one day closer to the return of Austin, of all other captives, and relief of the suffering of the Syrian people.

It also presents another opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to the many people and organizations who steadfastly work and pray for Austin’s safe return. We can never repay our deep debt of gratitude to every one of you.

June 20, 2013

Senator’s Letter to Secretary Kerry

We thank our Texas Senator John Cornyn and his office for initiating, drafting, and managing the signing and delivery of the letter to Secretary of State Kerry, imploring him to continue to use all efforts to secure Austin’s release and safe return.

We also deeply thank Texas Senator Ted Cruz, New Hampshire Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayote, and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy for contributing both their signatures and their support to Austin and our family.

December 23, 2013

This is a season of family togetherness, of hope and joy.  We wish everyone who sees this all those things.  We ask you to light a candle, say a prayer, spare a thought for all those missing and suffering; that the missing would be found, the suffering alleviated, and joy return.

Marc and Debra Tice and Family

February 14, 2013

Reflecting on Six Months of Silence

Six months ago, on August 14, we unknowingly began marking time with silence: 185 silent days, 27 silent Tuesdays, 6 silent months.   On that day, our cherished son and beloved brother, journalist Austin Tice, was taken captive in Syria.  Despite our best efforts, and the efforts of our government, many friends and journalists, as well as kind strangers, we still do not know with certainty who is holding Austin or how to secure his release.  We appeal to whoever is holding Austin to treat our son well, keep him safe, and return him to us.  We urge anyone with information to contact us through our website:

Many things have happened in our big family while Austin has been confined.  We miss him terribly during all the celebrations and feasts of the holidays; our hearts are heavy with longing for his great storytelling and contagious laugh.  Even so, our family is ever mindful of and sincerely thankful for the many people who sustain us with kind thoughts and steadfast prayer.

This was to be Austin’s last semester at Georgetown Law School.  Rather than pursue the traditional summer internship, Austin felt compelled to travel to Syria as a journalist.  Equipped with cameras, an exquisite writing talent, and an instinct for finding his way to the center of things, in May our son crossed over the Turkish border into Syria.  He courageously embraced the risks of freelancing in the pursuit of truth.  He wanted to both experience and understand the fundamental motivations of the Syrian people.  He was committed to preserving an accurate history for the children of Syria, whose future continues to be altered day by day.  His work, published by McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS, CNN, the BBC and others, fulfills that commitment.  His work demonstrated keen insight and provided thoughtful analysis as he worked to objectively give an account of all sides of this most complicated story.

We continue to pray and work for Austin’s safe return.  Though we are dismayed by the passage of time, we are not deterred.  We are amazed, humbled and deeply grateful for the support of many, many individuals and organizations, especially the global family of journalists.  We trust that all of these efforts, by the will of God, will end the silence and bring our son safely home.

May 3, 2013

On the Twentieth Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day

Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Today, our family joins people around the world in reaffirming the principles of press freedom.

As UN Secretary General BAN Ki-moon has stated, “Freedom of expression…is essential for empowering individuals and building free and democratic societies.  A fundamental right on its own, freedom of expression also provides the conditions for protecting and promoting all other human rights.  But its exercise does not happen automatically, it requires a safe environment for dialogue, where all can speak freely and openly, without fear of reprisal…On this World Press Freedom Day, we call on Governments, societies and individuals to do their utmost to protect the safety of all journalists, offline and online. Everyone has a voice; all must be able to speak freely and in safety.”

Our thoughts and prayers are united with all the families of journalists now missing or silenced. We continue to ask everyone who can, including the government of Syria, to assist us in locating Austin and securing his safe and prompt release. We urge whomever is holding Austin to show compassion by allowing us to have contact with our son and returning him safely to our family.

May 30, 2013

290 Days of Captivity

Family of missing Journalist has hopes for upcoming Syria Conference

It has been more than 9 months since our son, freelance journalist Austin Tice, was taken captive by unknown persons near Damascus, Syria, where he was reporting on the Syrian conflict for McClatchy News, the Washington Post, CBS and others.  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.

While we have been desperately missing Austin, Austin has also missed many important personal and family events.  Most notably, he missed the announcement of his receipt of the prestigious George Polk Award for War Reporting as well as the McClatchy President’s Award for Journalism Excellence.  Just last weekend, he missed his own long-anticipated graduation from Georgetown University Law Center.  In addition to his painful absence during traditional holiday celebrations, Austin has missed many family milestones, including several birthdays – most notably his grandmothers’ 83rd and 88th and his youngest sister’s 21st.  In April, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.  Another of Austin’s sisters graduated from university in December and his baby brother graduated from university in May.  Austin’s precious niece performed in her first ballet recital.  These are all occasions which will delight Austin’s heart and his inability to share in our joy pained the entire family. 

The event we presently long for most is Austin’s safe return.  We sincerely appreciate all the kind thoughts and prayers being offered for Austin.  We earnestly ask anyone with information regarding our son’s current situation to contact us through our website:   Above all we request that the Syrian government search vigorously for Austin in order to secure his safe return.  Soon, we plan to return to Beirut to reach more deeply into the region on behalf of our son.  As both sides of the Syrian conflict prepare to come together for peace talks next month, we ask that they keep Austin in their minds and help us answer the heartbreaking question frequently asked by Austin’s 3-year-old niece, “When is my Austin coming home?”

December 23, 2013

This is a season of family togetherness, of hope and joy.  We wish everyone who sees this all those things.  We ask you to light a candle, say a prayer, spare a thought for all those missing and suffering; that the missing would be found, the suffering alleviated, and joy return.

Marc and Debra Tice and Family

December 20, 2012

An open letter to those holding our son, Austin Tice:

Our family is longing for the safe return of our cherished son and beloved brother Austin, who was taken captive while working as a journalist in Syria. So many things have happened in the more than 18 weeks he has been missing. We missed him terribly at the family gathering for the feast of Thanksgiving. We are a close-knit family, sharing so many memories and traditions. Now, as we prepare for the joyful celebration of Christmas, we desperately want our family to be whole. Our hearts are heavy to think his chair may once again be empty at our family table; we dread missing his great storytelling and contagious laugh.

Austin is the oldest of our seven children. The Tice kids are very close, and Austin’s absence is agonizing. Like children everywhere, they grew up loving, fussing, challenging and, most importantly, supporting one another. Austin is so proud to be the thoughtful mentor and protector of his sisters and brothers, encouraging them to dream big and work hard to make those dreams come true. He has set an example by never settling for less than excellence in himself.

He is an Eagle Scout – Boy Scouting’s highest rank – a diligent student and a frequent volunteer, willingly sharing his time and talent to help others. As a Marine, he earned the loyalty and respect of his men by wholly embracing the call to lead by example. Now, as a journalist, he is determined to get the story and tell it with a deep commitment to honesty and thoughtful analysis.

As parents, we encourage our children to learn about and understand other cultures; to discover and explore the things we have in common as people sharing a world that grows ever more connected. Austin has traveled widely, always eager to meet and engage the local people. He has a special affinity for the people of the Middle East; he is especially attracted to your tradition of hospitality. He deeply connects with your intense loyalty to family, faith and ideals.

A passionate and serious man, Austin has no patience for shallow and materialistic pursuits. He went to Syria to see the truth and to share the stories of its people. He wanted to experience and understand the fundamental and essential nature of their challenges.

Austin’s big heart holds a special place for children. In his professional photographs, he tried to capture how the events in Syria affected its children.

Austin has always had an interest in journalism. From the time he began reading, he wanted to know what was going on “all around.” He has faithfully kept a journal. He has written for the newspaper at every school he attended, from middle school right up through college. He was thrilled to be offered a contract to report from Syria over his summer break from Georgetown law school.

Austin is just one of the many journalists taking great risks to further knowledge and understanding of other people, places and events. There is a global consensus through treaty and convention that the work of journalists is essential and should be protected and respected.

We steadfastly work and pray for Austin’s safe return. We are sustained by our faith and by the kind thoughts and prayers that are being offered for Austin and our family. We are humbled, amazed and deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support and assistance we have received from every corner of the globe; affirmation of all the lives that have been touched by our extraordinary son.

We urge you, whoever you are: Let Austin come home for Christmas. Let us hug him, laugh and cry with him, love him in person. Let us be a whole family again.

ead more here:

December 18, 2012

Kidnapping of NBC Crew

We are relieved to hear of the return of Richard Engel and his colleagues.  Certainly it deepens our longing to have Austin safely returned to our family.

 Journalists serve one of the most basic and important of all freedoms, the freedom of expression and of information.  Our hearts continue to go out to all those who remain in captivity and to their families.

November 05, 2012 

Beirut Press Release

Our eldest son, Austin Tice, an international journalist, was in Syria on his way to Lebanon when we lost contact with him August 13, 2012. Now, through his silence we are experiencing many of the anxieties currently suffered by thousands of Syrian and Lebanese families who have had loved ones simply disappear.
In order to expand our efforts to bring Austin safely home, we are planning to travel to Beirut soon. As we work to be reunited with our son, we are keenly aware of the many families in this region who are also living with uncertainty and longing.
We pray daily for peace and stability throughout the Levant, hoping for restoration and a return to normal family life. It is our son’s love for the people, especially the children, of this region which compelled him to come here as a journalist. We know it is also his fervent hope that these children and their families may live in peace.
Each November, our family gathers to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, a time of shukr, when we feast and give thanks for all our blessings. Right now, there is an aching hole in our family, a beloved son who is missing from our table.

It is the responsibility of those holding Austin to keep him safe, care for his needs and return him to us quickly, so our family can be complete when we celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving. Someone knows where Austin is, someone has the power to reach him and to restore him to our family. We ask that person, those people, to show compassion. Allow Austin to contact us, release him to come home.

في يوم 13 أغسطس 2012، فقدنا الاتصال مع ابننا الأكبر، أوستن تايس، وهو صحفي دولي، في سوريا عندما كان متجهًا نحو لبنان.  والآن، فإننا لعدم سماع صوته نعاني من القلق الذي ينتاب آلاف العائلات السورية واللبنانية الذين فقدوا أثر أحبائهم. 

ولزيادة جهودنا الرامية لإعادة أوستن للديار آمنًا، فإننا نعتزم السفر إلى بيروت قريبًا.  وحيث إننا نسعى للم الشمل مع ابننا، فإننا ندرك جيدًا أن هناك العديد من العائلات في هذه المنطقة الذين يعيشون حالة من عدم اليقين والاشتياق إلى رؤية أبنائهم.

ونحن ندعو كل يوم ليعم السلام والاستقرار عبر بلاد الشام آملين في عودة هذه العائلات إلى حياتهم العائلية الطبيعية. إن ما دفع أبننا للقدوم إلى هذه المنطقة كصحفي هو حبه لشعوب هذه المنطقة وخاصة الأطفال.  ونعرف أيضًا أن أمله الكبير هو أن يعيش هؤلاء الأطفال وهذه العائلات في سلام.

ففي نوفمبر من كل عام، تجتمع عائلتنا للاحتفال بعيد الشكر، حيث نحتفل ونشكر ربنا على كل النعم التي وهبنا إياها.  والآن هناك فجوة مؤلمة في عائلتنا، فابننا الحبيب متغيب عن المائدة التي تجمعنا.

إن هؤلاء الذين يحتجزون أوستن  يتحملون المسئولية عن حمايته وتلبية احتياجاته وإعادته إلينا سريعًا حتى يتم لم شمل العائلة عندما نحتفل بعيد الشكر.  هناك من يعرف مكان أوستن، هناك من لديه قدرة الوصول إليه وإعادته إلى عائلتنا. نحن نطلب من هذا الشخص، هؤلاء الأشخاص، أن يظهروا الرحمة.  نرجوكم أن تسمحوا لأوستن بالاتصال بنا، أطلقوا سراحه حتى يعود للديار


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An Open Letter from Marc and Debra Tice

Wednesday, August 14 marks seven years since American freelance journalist Austin Tice disappeared while reporting on the war in Syria. Tice’s parents, Marc and Debra Tice, today penned an open letter calling on readers to take action.



Journalist Austin Tice was reporting from Syria when he was detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Tuesday, August 14, 2012.

We hope you have seen this lede many times since August 2012.

But does that mean this is “old news”? Is the story of a missing journalist now stale? Emphatically, the answer is no – not at all.

Every single day Austin remains in detention his story is news. It is current and ongoing news each time the sun rises on another day – now more than 2,540 days, almost seven years.


Austin is alive, with the hope of once again walking free.

We also hold on to that hope and continue to do all we can to bring him safely home. That said, clearly our efforts have been insufficient. And until he comes home, we will have never done enough.

We need your help.

We invite you, advocates and supporters of press freedom, to join us by doing all you can for Austin.



You can:

·  Pray for Austin’s safe return.

·  Share Austin’s story on social media with the hashtag #FreeAustinTice.

·  Use your access to people in power to mention Austin.

·  Remind government officials of Austin’s ongoing detention.

·  Urge the President and Secretary of State to make Austin’s release an urgent priority.

·  Start or join a #FreeAustinTice letter writing campaign.

·  Journalists, take every opportunity to ask questions about your colleague, Austin Tice.

·  Military veterans, raise your collective voice to bring Austin, a veteran USMC Captain, safely home.

·  Students, rally and raise awareness of Austin’s detention.

·  Scouts, learn about and spread awareness about the detention of Austin Tice, an Eagle Scout.

The first Tuesday of August will be the 365th silent Tuesday since we last heard from Austin – a year of Tuesdays.

Please consider how you can be a voice for Austin.

Take action. Encourage others to join you. Keep up at it until we see Austin walk free.

Austin’s ongoing detention is today’s news.

Please join us as we work for the good news of Austin’s release and safe return.

May it be soon.

Marc and Debra Tice