WASHINGTON – The parents of missing American journalist Austin Tice made a heart-wrenching appeal for his safe return Thursday in an open letter addressed to his captors in Syria.
“We urge you, whoever you are: let Austin come home for Christmas,” Marc and Debra Tice wrote in the letter, published by McClatchy Newspapers and the Washington Post. “Let us hug him, laugh and cry with him, love him in person. Let us be a whole family again.”
Austin Tice was reporting on Syria’s civil war when he disappeared Aug. 13 near the Damascus suburb of Darayya. The 31-year-old freelance journalist from Houston reported from the front lines of the conflict for McClatchy, the Post and other news outlets.
State Department officials say they believe Tice is in the custody of the Syrian government, but the regime has denied any involvement or knowledge of his whereabouts.
The State Department is working with Czech diplomats in Syria to get information on Tice’s location and welfare.