Today is the 36th birthday of. Like the last several birthdays, he will not be celebrating with his family.
Tice, a Marine Corps veteran, was abducted in Syria on Aug. 14, 2012. He was documenting the intensity of a then-young civil war as a journalist for McClatchy, the Washington Post, CBS News and others. No group has claimed responsibility for his abduction. A video released five weeks after his disappearance showed him alive, but there’s been no official sign of him since.
CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor and his team metin their hometown of Houston to learn how they’re hopeful about their son’s return.
“It’s always there. You can’t vacation it away. You can’t think it away,” father Marc Tice said. “It’s what prompts us to keep working.”
Marc and Debra Tice have seven children but Austin is their oldest. They’ve made multiple trips to the Middle East; Debra even lived in Damascus for a time trying to secure his release.
“This administration is all in, fifth gear, ‘Let’s bring him home.’ And that does make a difference in our everyday thinking,” Debra said.
“And that’s different from the previous administration?” Glor asked.
“Thewas committed, and they realized that it was on the to-do list. But they weren’t pushing it up the list,” Debra said.
She said she believes it’s being pushed up now.
The push for U.S. hostages around the world to be released received a new and grisly impetus in June, after American studentwas returned by North Korea in a coma and died days later.
Debra said she’s “a 100 percent” confident that Tice is alive.
“No doubt,” Debra said.
“Yeah, no doubt. And it’s not just us. That’s not just parental wishes. That’s the assessment of everybody involved in his situation,” Marc said.
In a statement issued to CBS News, a State Department spokesman writes: “His case has the attention of the highest levels in the U.S. government and the administration. We are actively working to bring Austin Tice home.”
Debra said she believes Tice is in Damascus, the capital of Syria.
“You’ve been to Damascus. Are you gonna go back?” Glor asked.
“We will go to Damascus if we’re allowed to go,” Debra said.
Both Debra and Marc said they “absolutely” visualize their son being freed.
“We will never know Austin as anything except a free man. That’s the only way we’ll ever know him,” Debra said.
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