Yellow Ribbon Project

Families of Slain Americans Plead with Obama to Bring Home Kidnapped Journalist

Deborah Tice, mother of journalist Austin Tice, who is missing in Syria, speaks during a press conference at the Press Club in Beirut, Lebanon on May 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Families of American hostages murdered by ISIS have joined together in a plea for the Obama administration to find and bring home journalist Austin Tice.

Tice, from Houston, reported from Syria for McClatchy Newspapers, the Washington Post, and other outlets. His background as a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer enabled him to get close to the fighting as a war correspondent, and he quickly earned the respect of the Free Syrian Army fighters.

“Spent the day at an FSA pool party with music by @taylorswift13. They even brought me whiskey. Hands down, best birthday ever,” reads Austin’s last tweet, on Aug. 11, 2012. The Houston resident disappeared as he was trying to travel to Lebanon.

On Sept. 26, 2012, a video titled “Austin Tice still alive” was posted on a pro-Assad website, and raised alarms about the Syrian government’s potential role in his capture. The Assad regime has denied any involvement.

In this image taken from undated video posted to YouTube, American freelance journalist Austin Tice prays while blindfolded in the presence of gunmen. (AP Photo)

In this image taken from undated video posted to YouTube, American freelance journalist Austin Tice prays while blindfolded in the presence of gunmen. (AP Photo)

Reporters Without Borders has spearheaded a campaign to call for Tice’s release, and his family has spent the years since his capture trying to find out anything they can about his whereabouts.

In December 2012, a Syrian general who defected from Assad’s forces and was leading FSA rebels told PJM “there is no way any opposition party would keep or capture any American journalist.”

“We would have known immediately. I know this with no ifs, ands, or buts.”